County Kerry holds many historic facts. From a British Monarch’s visit, to a movie stars retreat, a liberator’s birthplace and a world heritage site, to a small convent. There are many historical facts to be found on the Ring of Kerry.
Queen Victoria, visited County Kerry in 1861. On the 26th of August the Queen, her husband Prince Albert and their children stayed in Killarney House, home of the Earl of Kenmare. They spent the following two nights at Muckross House, home to the Herbert Family.
The Royals visited Ross Castle, Muckross Demesne, Dinis Island, Mangerton and Torc Waterfall. They also viewed a stag hunt on the lakes and visited Muckross Abbey. The spot in Killarney at the top of Moll’s Gap is called Ladies View, as it is said this is where the Queen’s ladies-in-waiting stopped to take in the view of the lakes below.
Daniel O’Connell was born on August 6th 1775 near Cahersiveen, County Kerry and is known in Irish history as ‘The Liberator’ because of his political involvement in progressing Catholic emancipation.
His achievements include setting up the Catholic Association in 1823 and becoming the first Roman Catholic Lord Mayor of Dublin since the rule of King James II of England. He practiced as a Barrister in Munster for ten years before moving into politics and is regarded as a great statesmen for his belief in peace through lawful means.
12km southwest of Valentia Island, County Kerry, lies the Skellig Islands. Skellig Michael is known in the world of archaeology as the site of a well preserved monastic outpost of the Early Christian period and one of the best examples in Europe. In 1993 it was designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Over one thousand four hundred years ago a small group of monks were searching for a place to practice their religion in solitude and isolation. They ventured to Skellig Michael and built a monastery. The Small Skellig is renowned in matters of ornithology as the home of 27,000 pairs of gannets, the second largest colony of these seabirds in the world.
Charlie Chaplin began his film career in 1913. He had one of the longest and most versatile careers in the history of film. He began visiting the tiny village of Waterville on the Ring of Kerry with his wife Oona and his children in 1961.
Locals of the area say some of his favourite pursuits were walking along the seafront promenade and fishing in Lough Currane. His grandson Julien, is still a regular visitor to Waterville to this day. In 2011 the community set up the Charlie Chaplin Comedy Film Festival with the support of his daughter Josephine Chaplin and other patrons.
In 1864 there was no remunerative employment for women in Kenmare so the Poor Clare Nuns set up a practical course to help the women help themselves. An industrial school was established in the convent building and women were employed to produce Kenmare Lace. Tourists were encouraged to purchase the lace and medals were awarded to the lace-makers at the Cork Exhibition of 1883.
Famous pieces include a piece of lace for Queen Victoria, a linen and lace collar purchased by King Edward and a collarette for Queen Alexandra as a gift from King Edward VII. Queen Elizabeth II received an antique bed-cover of Kenmare Needlepoint as a wedding gift. The Vatican presented a needlepoint crochet to Pope Leo XIII from the Irish Hierarchy and an embroidered mitre was presented to Pope John Paul II.
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