There is number of Air Crash spots in county Wicklow dating from II WW till 90’s but one of them is situated between Drumgoff Gap and Kelly’s Lough, on the part of trail that I never walked – where Frank Maher and John Lonergan died on Feb 2nd 1992
Friday loop supposed to be in perfect sunny conditions but weather probably forgot to read the forecast and we had what we had. But among few one new peak have been achieved – Cloghernagh 783m, Corrigasleggaun 794m and repeated Carrawaystick 728m.
We started walk with 30 mins delay as we arrived at different times and parked 200m from each other but beyond sight. In case you didn’t know about that, Glenmalure Valley is remote enough that there is no network coverage, no signal to call or text. So, when at some stage I spotted Kris, who couldn’t see me and started heading to Crossroads at Glenmalure Lodge to get signal or wait to catch me at only possible entrance to whole valley by car. Thankfully a local man who was passing me chased Kris and told him about me waving hands on the road back in the valley. Just a good deed I appreciate much! Usual stuff – climbing zig-zags along Carrawaystick Waterfall, continue walking West via Cloghernagh (called also Leohard on East-West map, here is more story about local names around Lug). Then we turned at signpost (at 834m) to SE via Lough Gap, Lough Mountain 803m (also known as Corriganarrig or Corrigasleggaun, see more local name explanations here). Suddenly my Samsung rapidly went down on battery from 46% to 2% which is kind of usual within temperatures around 0°C so we navigated old-school way in drizzle and mist.
Then we reached airplane crash site with remains of the machine, even some piece of glassy-ish cabin shield. Little prayer and walk via Carrawaystick. Then after some piece of wooden-track made by Mountain Meitheal we descended using famous Wicklow Way that currently offers lots of views as this area is widely occupied by forestry tree-harvesters that looks amazing in action.
That day was finished with a campfire near Old Miner’s Path with amazing smoked mountain-cheese from Czarny Dunajec village and some very last sausages made locally by Gorey craft business that unfortunately did not survive the Covid. With first sparks I was dreaming in my head about comfy seat after over 20km walk that we have just done and then Kris appeared carrying two seats removed from his people-carrier. Just perfect moments in fading daylight at the bottom of Ballinafunshogue Waterfall. Was that my last hillwalking this year? Who knows…?
I found two notes leading to some more details about accident:
“I found a reference to the accident in the Irish Times of 5/2/1992. On page 3, it gives an account of the ill-fated flight of the Cessna that ended on this hillside and of the difficulties encountered in recovering the bodies. In the background of the photo can be seen the top of Clohernagh, on the far side of the valley.”
“Two Tullamore men died when their light plane crashed near the Glenmalure Pass in Co. Wicklow last Sunday afternoon. John Lonergan (31) and Frank Maher (45) took off from Kilkenny in their Cessna 172 at 2:30pm, to make the 30-minute journey to Edenderry. Nothing further was heard from them but the gardai were not informed until the following morning. The wreckage of the plane was discovered by a forestry worker on Monday.”