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Kerry Historical Ireland
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57 Historical Ireland in Kerry
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This early monastery is dramatically situated on the slopes of a barren and rocky island which stands sentinel against the Atlantic waves on the south-western coast of Ireland. Tradition attributes the foundation of the monastery to St. Finan. The deaths of some of its monks are recorded in 823, 950 and 1044, but the monastery continued till the 12th or 13th century when its monks transferred to the mainland at Ballinskelligs. The monastic remains are sited on a saddle in the rock about 550 feet above sea level. Six beehive huts, two rectangular oratories, St. Michael's Church and a small area known as 'The Monk's Garden' are sited on a series of terraces below which the cliffs fall steeply to the sea. The beehive cells are round outside and square inside, some have little wall cupboards and may have had two storeys inside. Near this cluster of beehive huts is a rectangular stone oratory, like that at Gallarus (see under Dingle Peninsula ) while further to the north is another one....
The Kerry Bog Village Museum and Village at Glenbeigh on the magnificent Ring of Kerry is a unique rural attraction to delight young and old who are interested in finding out more on the domestic lifestyles of the Irish in the earlly 1800's. It aims to create a period setting where you can visit and experience the past and understand the way of life in Ireland during this era....
Arrestingly sited on a ridge where it commands the attention of travellers on the road south-east of Waterville, this is one of the more accessible alignments in a county which affords several fine examples.
Its four monumental stones, up to 10 feet in height, extend east to west for 30 feet. This appears to have been part of a more complex structure. There are traces of an enclosure, or possibly the base of a cairn, on the south side, as well as what looks like remnants of a megalithic tomb adjoining the alignment.
According to local tradition, this is the burial place of the wife of Amergin, chief of the legendary Milesian invaders. It is interesting to note that the date given in the annuals for their arrival in Ireland, c 1700 BC, corresponds with the period to which one would expect this monument to belong.
Alignments, called stone rows in Britain, are well represented in the counties of Cork and Kerry, where perhaps fifty are known. They are usually built on elevated ground and often appear conspicuous on the skyline, which may have been a necessary part of their function....
The Kilgarvan Motor Museum has been open since 1985, begun by collecting and restoring over 20 years ago as a hobby. During this period, visitors from all over the world have visit with many of them bringing their own vintage or classic cars.
At Kilgarvan, the enthusiast can see the cars from all angles as the cars are not roped off. You can look into them, get the smell of the leather and wood. Most of the cars on show are used during the year for rallies, shows etc - so these old cars have a nice lived in feel to them. As this is a family run museum you get personal service and you can browse at your ease.
There are vintage and classic cars including Rolls Royce, Bentley, Alvis, D.K.W. Armstrong Siddeley, plus large collection of Automobilia.
There is a coffee shop available....
The museum is situated in an old school-house which can be dated back to 1875. Local archaeology, natural history and history as well as periodic temporary exhibitions can be seen here....
Listowel Castle is famous for being the birth place of Earl Kitchener of Khartoum. He is best known for his sombre face, and accusing finger, with the caption "Your Country Needs You," on recruitment posters during World War I.
The monument of a less loyal family are the ruins of Listowel Castle, the last bastion against Queen Elizabeth. It was built in the 15th century by a McGilligan. It was the last fortress of the Desmond's to be subdued. It fell to Sir Charles Wilmot who massacred everyone inside the castle in 1600. The Castle has been renovated in recent years with guided tours now available....
Located on the beautiful Ring of Kerry is Staigue Fort. It is not known for what the fort was used but Staigue Fort represents a considerable feat in engineering and construction. It was built without the use of mortar, using just stones placed at a slight angle, lower on the outside than the inside to allow water to run off.
Most famous of the great circular stone cashels, Staigue is also one of the best preserved and conveys a fair idea of how the larger Iron Age fortifications must have looked in their day. A building combining exceptional strength with unexpected architectural flair, it was plainly more than a vernacular ring-fort.
It invites comparison with the Grianan of Aileach in Donegal, with which it shares certain features, and like it may have been a royal residence in the last pre-Christian centuries. Its secluded situation, ringed by a ridge of hills at the head of a narrow valley with a view south to the coast, is very beautiful.
The cashel wall is notable for its uniformity and there are many interesting features for you to see....
An old monastery was founded here by St. Finian the Leper in the 7th century. It is referred to as existing in 992, and a stone church here is mentioned in 1044. The western part of the existing church is the oldest. It was finished in 1158 by Auliff Mor na Cuimsionach, a member of the O'Donoghue family, who was buried here in 1166. It has a Romanesque west doorway, with the innermost order plain, and the two outer ones bearing Romanesque decoration. The east window, with a head and a flower at the intersection, was inserted in the 13th century. The eastern part of the church was added at about the same period; a part of the eastern portion may have served as living quarters at some stage. On top of the south wall is an Ogham stone bearing the inscription BRRUANANN. The nearby round Tower has been much altered, but it still stands to a height of about 22 feet.
In a field to the south-west of the church is a round castle dating from the 13th century. The two storeys which remain are joined by a staircase within the wall, and the first floor has the remains of a fireplace....
Seven of the eight Ogham stones in this group were discovered in a souterrain at Coolmagort in the nineteenth century and have been set up on this site close to Dunloe Castle. The tallest stone is 8 feet high. There is also a prostrate slab taken from the grounds of nearby Kilbonane church.
Ogham stones were frequently used as lintels in the construction of underground passages. Because of their long protection from exposure, the Dunloe inscriptions are unusually well preserved. All are of a commemorative nature, as is usual in these monuments....
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