The present Mahon walkway – recently designated a Greenway, was created, following the construction of the Jack Lynch Tunnel from 1995, until its opening in May 1999. Mahon Community Association, campaigned for this amenity in their discussions with Cork Corporation, during the negotiations in the early 1990s, on the tunnel construction.
The path today stretches from Blackrock Castle along the “new” Ringmahon Strand and the shores of Loughmahon, over the mouth of the tunnel past Ringmahon Point, around McHugh Park and the Douglas Estuary, until it connects to the old Cork, Blackrock and Passage Railway line (opened 1850, the railway closed in 1932). The path continues either to Rochestown, across the Estuary or all the way to the Atlantic Pond and Pairc Ui Chaoimh.
Local Ballinure, Blackrock and Mahon residents, had for many decades, used some areas, along this shoreline to swim, relax, and socialise. John Hayes a native of Ballinure Cottages, recalls games of hurling, golf, and cricket being played, in nearby fields and card schools were common on weekend evenings.
The most popular area was known as ‘The Yank’s’, which was at the shore end of a boreen which ran from, Ballinure by the northern side of St Michael’s cemetery. The area continued by the side of the present day Ballinure pitch past a small house known as the Yank’s.
John recalls using this access path and spending happy days, along this pebbled shoreline, where the men swam on the northern end and the women on the southern side of the strand. Many drifted along to the corner of the Douglas estuary known as Moll Duggan’s Strand, which was then a popular area for picnics. While the shoreline has changed a lot, one can still imagine those days when many local residents gathered to talk and play as a community.
While the Greenway is a hub of human activity, wildlife still flourishes on this public amenity. Today, thousands of people walk, jog, and cycle back and forward each week on the walkway, cormorants, oystercatchers, seagulls and godwits happily feed along the shore. In spite of the development all around, rabbits, foxes and the occasional badger still survive. Please enjoy this vibrant area which is rooted in local history.