The Kerry Kingdom with its motto “Cooperation, Help, and Friendship” is home to Ireland’s highest mountain and Tom Crean who was one of the greatest Antarctic explorers. Also, the fascinating fact is that the first transatlantic telegraph cable traveled from Co. Kerry to North America. Even Charlie Chaplin was a fan of Co. Kerry
The County of Kerry is one of the most famous and beautiful of Ireland’s 32 counties with stunning sights such as the Ring of Kerry, the Dingle Peninsula, and the Skellig Islands.
County Kerry’s Irish motto, “Comhar, Cabhair, Cairdeas,” translates to “Cooperation, Help, and Friendship.” The blue and white mountains in the center of the County Kerry crest symbolize Kerry’s mountains – the highest in Ireland. The crown at the top stands for the Ciarraige, the pre-Gaelic people who gave their name to the county. The crosses on either side of it represent the monasteries of Ardfert and Aghadoe. The boat represents St. Brendan the Navigator, who is said to have discovered America long before Columbus did.
Carrauntoohil, in the MacGillycuddy Reeks range, is Ireland’s highest mountain, standing at 3,409 feet. The Reeks themselves stretch across 12 miles of the stunning Kerry landscape and also include Ireland’s second and third highest mountains – Beenkeragh (3,313 feet) and Caher (3,284 feet). The Reeks are also home to Ireland’s highest lake, Cummeenoughter Lake, nicknamed “The Devil’s Looking Glass,” which is 2,320 feet above sea level. The Conor Pass, near Dingle, is Ireland’s highest mountain pass.
Tom Crean (1877 – 1938) was born near Annascaul, Co. Kerry. A seaman and Antarctic explorer, he was part of the Discovery and Terra Nova expeditions led by Captain Robert Falcon Scott to the South Pole. He was also part of Ernest Shackleton’s mission on board the ship Endurance (1914-16) and became the hero of the doomed venture. During the Endurance expedition, the crew abandoned ship after it became locked in the ice of the Wendell Sea. They sailed in three small boats to the desolate Elephant Island before Crean and five companions, including Shackleton, journeyed 800 miles in the tiny James Caird to South Georgia, marched 40 miles across its uncharted, glaciered interior to reach a whaling station and returned for the castaways on Elephant Island. After making it to safety, Cream returned to Annascaul, where he set up the pub, The South Pole, with his wife, Ellen.
Valentia was the eastern terminus of the first commercially viable transatlantic telegraph cable which stretched from Valentia to Heart’s Content, Newfoundland in 1866. Transatlantic telegraph cables operated from Valentia Island for one hundred years, linking Europe and America for the first time ever.
A plaque was unveiled on the island in 2002 commemorating the extraordinary achievement of linking the two continents
It’s said in Kerry that, “There are only two kingdoms, the Kingdom of God and the Kingdom of Kerry.” Use of the nickname “The Kingdom” to refer to Kerry dates back to 65 AD when one of the O’Connor clan took control of the area. The O’Connor chieftain’s name was “Ciar” (pronounced “keer”) and his descendants became known as “Ciar-raigh,” (pronounced “keer-ree”), which roughly translates to “Ciar’s people” or “Ciar’s kingdom.” Ciarraigh was later anglicized to Kerry.
The silent film star, whose last wife, Oona O’Neill (daughter of playwright Eugene O’Neill) had Irish ancestry, found a home away from home in Waterville, Co. Kerry. Chaplin (1889 – 1977) traveled with his family to Waterville many times throughout the 60s and 70s, often staying at the Butler Arms Hotel. To this day, a statue of Chaplin overlooks Ballinaskelligs Bay in Waterville, and each summer the town is host to the Charlie Chaplin Comedy Film Festival.
It is widely believed that James Bond’s boss, “M,” was inspired by a man named William Melville (1850 – 1918) from Sneem, Co. Kerry. After moving to London as a young man, he joined the then newly formed London Metropolitan Police, where he was a founder of the Special Irish Branch, which monitored Irish Nationalists and subversives. Melville was a Catholic and supported Home Rule for Ireland.
In 1903, Melville became head of the British Secret Service and went by the code name “M” to hide his identity. In 1909, the British War Office set up a counter-espionage service, the Secret Service Bureau, later named MI5 and MI6. William Melville was appointed Chief of the Bureau, and many of the tactics and methods developed by him are still in use to this day. The nature and secrecy of Melville’s work meant he was practically unknown. However, the creator of James Bond, Ian Fleming, did know about him because he too worked for the Secret Service.
The oldest thatched house in Ireland is in Kerry. Sheehan’s Thatched House at Finuge Cross, near Listowel, was built over 300 years ago and is the oldest surviving authentic thatched house in Ireland.The house is a three-bay single story example of a “direct entry” type of traditional Irish house. It is rectangular in plan, with each room opening into the next without a passage or central hall, and the entrances and windows are found on the side rather than the end walls. The walls are of rubble stone construction, finished with a lime-based wash. The house also features a traditional half-door, which in the bygone days offered important advantages: it allowed a good deal of both daylight and fresh air into the house while at the same time keeping the angry hens out. It also served as an armrest while the owner chatted to a passing neighbor.The house is owned by the Sean McCarthy Committee and was purchased and renovated in 1993 in memory of the beloved local storyteller, writer, musician, and broadcaster.
More than 385 million years ago a large amphibian animal walked on soft sediment on the shoreline of Valentia Island in Co. Kerry. The footprints are preserved in the rock as shallow impressions. This large amphibian was known as a Tetrapod and the footprints are the oldest known fossilized footprints in the world. They are also the earliest record of vertebrates moving onto land, breathing air, walking on all four limbs, and are also the first fossil record of an amphibian animal.
Puck Fair, Ireland’s oldest traditional festival, is over 400 years old. It is the only festival in the world where a wild mountain goat is crowned king. The festival, which runs from August 10 to 12 and is expected to attract 80,000 visitors this year, was said to be linked to the Celtic festival of Lughnasa, which symbolizes the beginning of harvest. The goat was a symbol of pagan fertility.Every year locals captured a wild goat in the Macgillycuddy Reeks and brought it back to town. Mulvihill writes that one of the best-known goat catchers was Michael ‘Butty’ Sugrue, once known as Ireland’s strongest man.The “Queen of Puck,” usually a young schoolgirl crowns the goat “King Puck.” The goat is placed in a small cage on a high stand for three days as the locals celebrate with markets, entertainment and pubs staying open until 3am. At the end of the fair, the goat is released back into the wild.
“Kerry, a county of Ireland, province of Munster, 53 m. long and 41 broad; bounded E by Limerick and Cork, W by the Atlantic, N by the Shannon, which separates it from Thomond, and S by Desmond ND the ocean, containing 1,040,487 acres, divided into 84 parishes. Chief rivers, the Cashing, Lane, Roughy, and Mang. The S is a plain, and fertile in corn; but the greater part is mountainous, chiefly adapted for grazing. Considerable quantities of beef, butter, hides, and tallow, are exported. Pop 205,037. Chief town, Tralee.”
Hotels in Kerry offering you stay and discover our “secret island”, an authentic experience of the people as we are.(www.kerryhotels.com )
In an effort to create a haven that will reflect the beauty of Kerry County, hotel owners have left no details to the case. From picturesque gardens and manicured lawns to elegant entrances, cozy reception areas and friendly staff, your senses will enjoy every moment spent at one of the Kerry hotels:
The Lake Hotel-nestled on the shores of Loch Lein, The Lake Hotel has magnificent mountain views. Just 2 km from Killarney, the hotel has en suite rooms, a restaurant and an outdoor hot tub.Rooms at the 4-star family-run hotel have baths and shower. They also have satellite TVs, hair dryers and most rooms have countryside views, some have balconies.Enjoy a drink at the elegant Devil’s Punch Bowl Bar, which is named after a Lake on Mangerton Mountain which is visible from the bar.
Scott’s Hotel- is opposite Killarney Train & Bus Stations and just a 2-minute walk from the shopping district. It offers spacious rooms, 3 bars, a restaurant and free underground parking.Decorated in light modern colours, rooms at Scott’s have flat-screen satellite TVs, luxurious toiletries and an extensive room service menu. Some rooms have panoramic views of the McGillycuddy Reeks and complimentary high speed WiFi available throughout the hotel.
Dingle Skellig Hotel -just 200 m from Dingle Bay, the Dingle Skellig Hotel and Peninsula Spa has 3 pools, a restaurant and gym. Spacious bedrooms have private bathrooms and satellite TV.All rooms at the hotel are fitted with a seating area, a flat-screen TV with satellite channels and a private bathroom with a hair dryer and a bath. Guest rooms will provide guests with a desk and a kettle.The Peninsula Spa offers beauty treatments and massages. The facilities include a sauna, steam room and sun shower.
The Brehon-boasting marble bathrooms and spacious rooms with mountain views, The Brehon is 500 m from the INEC and overlooks Killarney National Park. Guests can relax in its luxurious Angsana Spa.Each luxury room features baths, walk-in showers and fluffy bathrobes. Guests can relax with satellite TV, slippers, and complimentary mineral water.The Brehon Bar has a wide selection of wines, cocktails and an extensive bar menu.
The Heights Hotel Killarney-the privately run and owned Heights Hotel Killarney overlooks the Flesk Valley and Torc and Mangerton mountains and is 1.6 km from Killarney Train Station. It offers luxurious accommodation with breathtaking countryside views, 20 minutes’ walk from Killarney town centre.Rooms at The Heights Hotel Killarney feature cable TVs, hairdryers and irons. Throughout the day room service is available for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Killarney Racecourse and the Fitzgerald Stadium are both within 3.2 km of the hotel.
The Gleneagle Hotel & Apartments-the Gleneagle boasts a 25 m swimming pool, an 18-hole pitch and putt, and 2 tennis courts. Situated on the edge of Killarney National Park, the INEC centre is attached to the hotel.The Gleneagle was voted as one of the top 10 family friendly hotels by Ireland’s Primary Times.Guests have free entry to the Aquila Leisure Club, with 2 squash courts,championship snooker tables, and a 10 m children’s pool.
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