Another area that has had a lot of hardship and flooding history is Cockstown close to Tullira and Labane. Locals there have been reporting increasing flooding levels since 1980 and a history of poor flood management in the intervening years.
The area in question is between Labane and Peterswell and can be approached by taking a right after Labane on the way to Galway and a right again. It provides access to the main Galway road from areas such as Kilchreest, Castledaly and Peterswell.
During times of severe winter rains the area around Cockstown (west) starts to flood. There is a karst hole in Gerry Nolan’s field that starts to swell and flood the surrounding land. This is shown below:
This overflow is probably the result of increased levels in Crannagh and Blackrock flowing through the underground system. Crannagh swallow hole has been traced to Kinvara East springs (Source GSI) and this karst feature is along that directional path. There is also a connection between Grannagh Swallow hole and Kiltartan Rise (Polldellin) and this is passes close to the Cockstown Karst hole.
It may also be connected to Blackrock swallow holes as these have significant connectivity. This is shown below:
In 1980 the locals reported flooding across the Cockstown road that locked access and flooded land both sides of the road. They were surprised when planning permission was granted for a house in 1982 and this flooded significantly in 1995 and was thereafter abandoned. Another house on the same plain got planing permission for an extensions which again had to be halted due to flooding.
The situation this past winter looked like this :
When the water levels rose this area overflowed at the South-East end of Cockstown road and flowed toward Lissatunny/Tullira.
The key flooding crisis in area were:
Water quality: From previous flooding, the local water scheme in this area had very bad levels of coliforms and was unusable in households. This has now been joined up with the Peterswell scheme.
Road Access : Many of the roads around Peterwell, Castledaly were closed and this road would provide much needed connectivity to Labane and hence Galway and many people were put out. Also the Ballyglass school bus could not pass this area. The road itself was not massively flooded (Roadstone was bring 100s of lorries of stone through, throughout the floods, but it wasn’t destined for this road!) and despite multiple calls for this road to be raised – it remained underwater and impassible by cars, buses and eventually tractors.
The locals indicated that they would pay for the stone to give them access and in the end they would pay for the labour but this wasn’t sanctioned by Galway CC. The re was some reluctance over the 2 abandoned houses but the locals again, contacted the owners (via Parish Priest) and all was deemed ok – they still didn’t move on it.
FarmYard Access : Local man Gerry Nolan was badly impacted by the floods and his shed were inaccessible (and therefore unusable) for 3 months. These sheds had been previously relocated on higher ground but the water levels seem to be following (a very similar situation to many farmers in South Galway). Gerry is very frustrated with the flooding situation now :
“I relocated the shed after the 1995 flooding but only 40% funding was available to me so it’s very difficult to see this shed not being accessible. Also, I was signed up for a Glas scheme to sow trees but the area that was designated was underwater and would remain so until my deadline. I wrote to them to propose a new area that wasn’t currently flooded but they flatly refused and indicated that I shouldn’t have built on land prone to flooding – This land hadn’t flooded before. I’ve lost the scheme now – so this puts even more pressure on the finances”
It’s a bit ironic that planning permission was consistently given in this area for houses and extensions to be built on known flooded areas but another government department is quick to point the finger when they incorrectly deem a local man to be negligent because of the flooding.
The bigger Picture
Where does the water go after flowing out of Cockstown? It flows into Tullira and then more than likely into Labane which has some very critical flooding issues:
Firstly, what is the deal with the abandoned houses? Why are they not simply knocked down?
It seems reasonable to raise the road on the North side of the Cockstown road and ensure access to Nolan’s sheds. This water is not flowing and the displacement is very small and would be insignificant overall. The shed itself would benefit from an raise access route and a flood barrier.
Also because of the slow flow across the road toward Tullira, this road could be raised with a small culvert or set of pipes to allow water to flow under, rather than over the road. This would permit full access across this road when many other roads in the area are closed.
Another option that may be considered is linking this up with the Ballyglass scheme. (over 1.5 miles away) . While this may not be considered feasible for this area, if you consider the potential linkage this has with Labane and that fact that it closes a major roadway for 11 weeks then this would be something that merits deeper investigation.