The river flows very fast today and I hear it has has even broken the wall by the hatch, I didn’t make it that far today being transfixed by the O’Brien footprint.
I get to the Glen late after a day of multiple connections. M the dancer and friend of Maeve Fleischmann, organised a zoom with Gerard O’Brien, who also grew up in the Glen. We were aware of the residence from N’s research and the remaining fence posts between the tallest Cypress trees and the Island, and up into the Gothic Quarter. I wasn’t at all surprised when Gerard told us the former name was Gleann na Puca – Glen of the Fairies, or as he put it, the Haunted Glen. Folk used to stay away till industrialisation brought the mills and then the people.
There is a little hand painted fairy door at the foot of one of the Cypresses where I often see offerings. This tree would have been at the entrance to the O’Brien plot. There was an orchard at the back, in the part I call ‘The Gothic Quarter’ and the steps are still there running up alongside the well. The House was built on the grounds of a mill and Gerard knew there were buried parts under the residence.
The Glen was a place where local kids used to come unaccompanied, and unencumbered by adults. “The Glen was a wild place and you learned a lot of cop on , you learned how to look after yourself” … “the waterways used to flow through the garden, there was a 10 foot waterfall, you had all the time the sound of the water rumbling away …it was a garden of Eden there were a few serpents around on the outside..”
There used to be trout in the river. After the Gouldings moved away and the land was left to Cork Corporation a sewage scheme was built in the Glen in the 1960s that destroyed the waterways and the buildings and character of the Glen. The recession of the 1980s meant a period of dereliction. Even in 1947 there were discussions about acquiring the Glen as an amenity and controlling building on The Glen rim. The baby boom of the 1950s/60s meant children were coming of age with new families during the recession, and a demand for housing was met with urgency, and cheaply by the corporation.
The area of the Glen is Rathmore