The Milesians and the Book of Invasions, the Leabhar Gabala, are associated with this area in Kerry. The book became one of the most popular and influential works of early Irish literature. It is usually known in English as "The Book of Invasions", or "The Book of Conquests".
The Book is a collection of poems & prose narratives that claims to be a history of Ireland and the Irish from the creation of the world to the Middle Ages. There are a number of versions, the earliest of which was written in the 11th century. The book tells of Ireland being settled six times by six groups of people: the first four groups are killed, or forced to abandon the island, the fifth group represent Ireland's pagan gods, while the final group represent the Irish people (the Gaels).
Scholars believe the goal of its writers was to provide an epic history for Ireland that could compare to that of the Israelites, or the Romans and which incorporated native myth with the christian view of history.
Daniel O Connell boasted that he alone could get a message to every house in Ireland within 24 Hours. You must remember that this is in the days before phones and texts! Railways were only just being built at this time. He asked the fastest boy in the Parish to get 3 straws and take them to each of 3 neighbours, who would in turn take 3 straws and take them to 3 of their neighbours and the process was to be repeated. Within 24 hours every house in Ireland had received a straw.
The Chough is the only European member of the crow family with a glossy black plumage and red bill and legs. The Iveragh Peninsiula and the adjacent dingle Peninsula have most of Ireland’s population of Chough (in excess of 1000 breading pairs) and a significant percentage of the world’s population of these birds. Dingle has the highest concentration of these birds in Europe. Traditionally they were known as Preachán Cosdeárg, or red legged crow and were thought to have red legs and beaks from eating bloody flesh – tales were told of these birds attacking new born lambs and indeed children. They are actually ground feeding preferring short grazed grassy areas, where they can easily access insects and other invertebrates.
Maurice O Connell (1770-1825) was Daniel O Connell’s wealthy uncle. Daniel spent much of his early childhood with Maurice in Derrynane.
The O’Connells’ great house of Derrynane was accessible only by sea or horseback. The sea access was barely visible at sea within a half mile of the difficult bay entrance. Maurice ‘Hunting Cap’ O’Connell, became wealthy through smuggling butter, salt, hides out of the Kerry coast and tea & brandy in.
Maurice was always called ‘Hunting Cap’. He hated paying taxes, and new taxes were always being introduced. A new tax had been introduced on Beaver Hats, worn by Irish gentry. Beaver fur was the raw material for a high quality felt suitable for hat making. Felted Beaver fur could be processed into a hat that held its shape well even after successive wettings, making it perfect for Ireland. Maurice was so incensed about this tax that he gave up wearing Beaver Hats and instead wore a ‘chaipín’, or hunting cap. Ever after he was known as ‘Muiris an Chaipín’, or in English ‘Hunting Cap’.
Lord Dunkerron a local landlord and estate owner, was a good swimmer and was in the habit of swimming almost daily. He however on one of his daily swims was captured by a mermaid at 3pm. Every day at this time he pops his head out of the water and says ‘hello hello’ ! On hearing this a passer-by shouted in response ‘may the devil choke you’ and not a word was heard from Lord Dunkerron since.
Ross Castle story from the Schools' Collection (EN)
Ross Castle was built in the 14th century by O Donoghue Ross who it is said had knowledge of magic. He had the power of transformation. His wife demanded that he turn into a demon. He refused at first but gave in on the condition that she did not show fear. If she was afraid they would be separated forever. He assumed an horrific shape, his wife screamed, the demon spring through a window and into the lake below. The boatmen say that O' Donoghue lives beneath Lough Leane. On a May morning every 7th year he rides a white horse over his lands. There is luck for all who witness this. Those who believe and follow him can walk on the waters of the lake and stay dry and he will lead you to his treasures buried in the mountains.
Killarney, or Cill Airne, means church of sloes- bitter black fruit from the blackthorn tree a form of wild plum. The earliest recorded Archaeological feature within the current town of Killarney is a Barrow. These features usually date to the Bronze age 2000BC-1800BC as does the copper mine on Ross Island. There are several holy wells of unknown date within the town.
Killarney featured in early Irish history with religious settlements playing an important part of its history. The monastery on nearby Innisfallen Island founded in 640 by St. Finian the Leper, which was occupied for approximately 850 years.
After the Anglo-Norman invasion of Ireland in 1169, the Normans built Parkavonear Castle, at Aghadoe. The castle was perhaps intended as an early warning outpost due to its views of the entire Killarney valley and lakes region.
Killarney was heavily involved in the Irish War of Independence. The town, had strong republican ties, skirmishes with the British forces happened on a regular basis. The Great Southern Hotel, (currently the Malton Hotel) was taken over by the British, as an office and barracks, and to protect the neighbouring railway station.
Killarney's tourism history goes back at least to the mid-18th century, when Thomas, fourth Viscount Kenmare (Lord Kenmare), began to attract visitors and new residents to the town. A visit by Queen Victoria in 1861 gave the town some international appeal.
Killarney benefited from the coming of the railway in July 1853. The British trade directory noted that there were three hotels in the town in 1846 but by 1854, one year after the coming of the railway seven hotels were seen.