Local well-known historian refutes name of tunnel on the Moll’s Gap stage as the Newfoundland Bay Tunnel – here is his compelling evidence

Photos thanks to Damien Switzer’s collection

A local well-known historian has disputed a recent article which named the tunnel on the Moll’s Gap stage as the Newfoundland Bay Tunnel.

A recent article published by Kerry Motorsport News refereed to a Kerry County Council press release which named the tunnel as Newfoundland Bay Tunnel.

Local historian Damien Switzer, a man with considerable rally knowledge too as he has often produced and designed official programmes for the Rally of the Lakes and The Killarney Historic Rally through his day job as chief designer with KC Print, disputes the name.

He accepts that the bay in Upper Lake, just below where the tunnel sits on the Moll’s Gap stage is called Newfoundland Bay.

“Any local fisherman will tell you that but the tunnel has no official OSI name nor is it on any map going back to when the tunnel was built and I have them all. I collect them,” he told the Killarney Advertiser. “Admittedly you got your information from an official source but this is rewriting history and that cannot happen on my watch. It’s like me calling a MKII Escort a Beetle.”

The disputed statement, was issued to advertise a road closure for road works, the Moll’s Gap road was closed on Monday March 2 and will re-open on Monday March 16. .

The statement read: “ The purpose of the road closure is to allow repair works to be completed on a section of partially collapsed retaining wall on the N71 in the townland of Gortroe which is located approximately 100m south of Newfoundland Bay Tunnel. The road is narrow at this location so a road closure will be required to complete the works safely.”

Mr Switzer went into fascinating detail to reveal the correct name for the tunnel.

He said: “The council official is most definitely 100% wrong, it’s not Gortroe, it’s Gortderraree, last time I checked Gortroe was in Fossa and yes the bay on the Upper Lake is called Newfoundland.

“The famous engineer Alex Nimmo is responsible for its creation, he also built the suspension bridge in Kenmare.

“The tunnel was on the Prince of Wales route, blasted from Cromaglaun mountain, which the old Irish used call it.

“They referred to the tunnel as ‘through Cromaglaun’.

“Anyway, local lore aside the official provable name that has featured in numerous books for about 200 years is ‘The Heading’.  from Westminster to Derrynane it was known as ‘The Heading’, and it also it gained notoriety and was made famous by a local robber called Martin Mahony who used to hide there.”

This article was originally published in the February 21 edition of the Killarney Advertiser. Kerry Motorsport News is the motorsport content provider to the Killarney Advertiser

 Here is the link to the original Kerry Motorsport News article


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