The following article was written by Paddy Faley 32 years ago this week in 1984, which turned out to be roasting summer.
I witnessed a phenomenal incident in the month of May. It was in the area of virgin bogland known as “The Shakey” east of Clounleharde along the Kerryline. It apparently did not get that name without a reason. It had been taken over by a company for planting and, as it happened, I was working with the Council on the roadway nearby when the first machine entered to prepare for the planting of the trees. It was a heavy machine on tracks.
The driver had travelled 60 yards or so when the machine started to sink. He jumped off and with great presence of mind attached a strong steel rope to it. Dumbfounded he stood whilst it sank deeper and deeper into the soft peat until eventually it had disappeared.
People in the neighbourhood, hearing of the event, gathered to look at this unusual happening. There it remained for a couple of days whilst the owners discussed, wracked their brains and consulted others about ways and means of rescuing the machine from the hidden depths.
A few days afterwards a rescue gang arrived with different types of very heavy machines which they attached together directly across the road from the sunken vehicle. A strong pulley rope was then attached to a pulley wheel and the tugging began. The rope cut itself into the bog when it took the strain but, after a while, we saw heaving on the surface as the machine began to be towed underneath the ground, which would swell up overhead, like a wave, as it passed and fall back into place again. Thus the tugging went on until the machine started to appear like a submarine on reaching the sound ground near the roadway. Thus the machine was rescued.
As I said this bogland was not called “The Shakey” without earning the name. All the stories, which we thought were only myths, that we heard from the old folk about cattle disappearing without a trace – yes, human beings too – losing their lives in this area, has now been proved true. No man in his senses, hearing this incident would venture working on this fearsome ground.