Kayaking and Geology - Meenogahane

Heritage Week Event - "Kayaking & Geology" took place 20th August 2017 at Meenoghane Pier, Causeway, North Kerry. This event was the first of its kind in North Kerry.

The Meenogahane stunning coastline is underexplored, under-documented and largely inaccessible, unless by water. There is very little written about the coastal geology of Meenogahane Area. Kayaking seems to be the best way of exploring the coastline, it gives you a different perspective and a better sense of the scale of the rock formations.

There were two fully booked Kayaking Tours and a photographic and specimen exhibition held at the Pier for the day. The event attracted the attention of a local community. Locals and visitors with none to some kayaking experience participated in kayaking tours. John, from Wild Water Adventures, guided the tour regaling local history and folklore and pointing out varies wildlife in and out of the water and along the cliffs. Myself explained the coastal geology along the way with its beautiful sea stumps, stacks, sea arches, caves and an amazing blowhole.

First Sea Kayaking Tour

Three and half months research on a geological heritage of Kerry Head area was finalized with the production of few posters, photographic exhibition and mineral and rock specimen collection.

A few hidden geological gems from the Kerry Head area

Some interesting geological structures easily noticeable at Meenogahane - Clashmealcon Area

Brothers, Tom Pierce (left) and John Pierce (right)

I need to mention that an inspiration for taking an interest in this particular area is Mr John Pierce, who was born in Meenogahane and most of the Pierce`s family still resides there. A specimen of "Kerry Diamonds" which I came across 3 years ago, was the beginning of something that developed into such wonderful event.

Exhibition tent with complimentary tea/coffee served . Thomas Harrington (on right), my local guide at Clashmealcon Area

Complimentary tea, coffee and biscuits at exhibition tent were served by Michaela Edwards (Wild Water Adventures), Throughout the day the exhibition was visited by the local community, some who popped back a few times during the day, who greeted each other, shared stories and memories of people and events that shaped their community. They were very interested in geological heritage and flora/fauna of this coastline and were impressed by the immense effort and detail that was accumulated and documented. I think they all went away with a renewed sense of their heritage and the beauty of this coastline. Most people took photographs of the exhibition so they could read again and share with those who could not attend.

Inside amazing blowhole at Beenconeen

First kayaking tour started around 10.30 am and we kayak towards Ballybunion. We admired inside of a small cave. John was sharing his knowledge on local folklore and wildlife as we were kayaking along. We came across some geological structures visible only from the sea. Our final destination was magnificent blowhole which is only accessible from the sea. There are some local stories associated with his place. "Poll a`Taraibh" roughly translated mean the "Noisy Hole". It's believed that the sound of the crashing waves in Poll a`Taraibh and surrounding area can be heard in the far distance. Also, quite possibly this was a "lead mine", and evidence of lead mineral called "Galena" is present in the vicinity of this blowhole. Don`t be surprised if you hear about "the hole of the bull" as this name was adopted by locals as well.

Natural arches - the "window" and the "needles"

Because of the weather conditions, especially stronger wind, on the second tour, we decided to head towards Ballingarry Island – opposite direction to our first tour. We were able to see “the window” carved in the red sandstone and kayak through out the “door” or the “needles” as it`s called by the locals.

The prize signed by the author Dr Patrick Roycroft

There was a competition that all visitors at the exhibition could enter free of charge. The prize was a fabulous book, ‘648 Billion Sunrises’ donated and signed by the author Dr Patrick Roycroft. There were 47 names in the jar and after a second kayaking tour, the youngest person, Kate Fitzsimons had the privilege to pick a winner .. and guess who she managed to pull out? Yes, indeed - Herself! She said she wasn’t going to let her dad steal it!

What a wonderful experience! (photo courtesy of Pat Donegan)

For more details on kayaking tour go to a story map shown below. However, if you are unable to see it properly, you can open it in new window following this link http://arcg.is/2wiif7R

"Kayaking and Geology" story map - enjoy the virtual tour and admire the hidden heritage

Despite the "Irish weather", the Rose of Tralee Festival, which was on that weekend and the Electric Ireland GAA Football All-Ireland Minor Championship Semi-Final – Kerry vs Cavan at Croke Park in Dublin, we had a great turn out to the exhibition and kayaking tours. I can proudly say that showcasing this amazing coastline was pure pleasure and privilege. Don`t be surprised if you see me there soon! There is more to come in 2018!

A special thank you to Pierce`s family, especially John Pierce mentioned above and Frank Pierce, who guided me, shared his stories from Meenogahane and neighborhood. Frank took me on several boat trips which ended up with a great collection of photographs of this amazing coastline. Also, Thomas Harrington, who showed me Beenconeen and Clashmealcon area. Liam Leen helping out with the exhibition tent. Martina Flynn for the list of useful books and materials. Shannonferry Group Ltd for providing funds for printouts for the exhibition. Dr Patrick Roycroft for signing and sending a copy of his book. Geological Survey of Ireland for sponsoring another book for Facebook competition. Michaela and John Edwards, of course, for hosting this event with me! Thanks, everyone!

HERITAGE AWARD WINNERS 2017 The Heritage Council is delighted to announce the Heritage Award Winners 2017, showcasing the best of National Heritage Week and recognising the fantastic work of all the heritage enthusiasts who take part. There were 122 entries for the Awards and 170 nominations for the Heritage Hero award. The 13 winners came from eight counties from Donegal to Kerry. Co. Clare came out on top with three winners.

Hidden Heritage Award This award shines a light on Ireland’s hidden heritage and was open to event organisers who successfully explored lesser known aspects of Ireland’s heritage during Heritage Week.


The Sea Kayaking and Geology Tour organised by Wild Water Adventures in Co. Kerry teamed up with Gosia, a local geologist to show the local community and visitors the unique geological heritage of the North Kerry Coastline. They ran two kayaking tours and a well-attended photographic and specimen exhibition at Meenogahane Pier for the day. The tours covered the rich geological heritage of the area as well as local history, folklore and wildlife. Meenogahane’s stunning coastline is under explored, under documented and largely inaccessible, unless by water, a real hidden gem.

Michael Starrett, Chief Executive of the Heritage Council with Gosia Shaikh-Horajska, (Kerry Geo Adventures), John and Michaela Edwards (Wild Water Adventures Kerry) who were shortlisted in the Hidden Heritage Awards and Michael Parsons, Chairperson of the Heritage Council pictured at the Heritage Council’s National Heritage Awards in the Medieval Mile Museum, Kilkenny.

Hidden Heritage Award 2017 - shortlisted

#coastalwalking #coastalgeology #NorthKerry #Meenogahane #kayaking #KerryHead

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