Situated in the heart of Cahersiveen The O’Connell Memorial Church built in 1888 and designed by G.C. Ashling of Dublin, it was constructed using granite and black limestone. The building is one of the few Catholic churches in the world that honours a layman Daniel O'Connell - The Liberator. Its first mass was celebrated in 1900.Pope Leo XIII approved the building and sent a marble slab from the catacombs to be its cornerstone. The church’s porch also contains interesting historical relics.
The remains of Monsignor Hugh O'Flaherty, CBE who was an Irish Roman Catholic priest and a senior official of the Roman Curia are interned in the church grounds. During World War II, he was responsible for saving 6,500 Allied soldiers and Jews.
Leacanabuaile Stone Fort, just outside Cahersiveen, is one of the best examples of the interior of a round stone fort in Ireland. Its walls are about 3m thick and have been reconstructed to a height of about 1.5m. Inside are three stone beehive houses, the square house in the middle is apparently of a later date. There is also a souterrain(underground structure), originally an escape area and a place of refuge and storage, as well as the remains of a rotary quern for grinding corn.
Leacanabuaile Fort is one of very few of these forts to be excavated, this was done in 1939/40. Objects found include iron, bone, bronze, lead and stones, dating from the 9th or 10th century.
The Old Barracks was constructed between 1870 and 1875 and served as the Royal Irish Constabulary Barracks.
Today it serves as a Heritage Centre for the Iveragh Peninsula. It has an interesting history explained through various exhibitions that relate to the local area, including The Great Southern and Western Railway, The Life and Times of Daniel O'Connell, The Fenin Rising of 1867, The 1916 Rising and Monsignor Hugh O' Flaherty (The Scarlet Pimpernel).
Toilets are available and there is also a lift to all floors
The Skellig Islands
This monastic complex, perched since about the 7th century on the steep sides of the rocky island of Skellig Michael, some 12 km off the coast of south-west Ireland, illustrates the very spartan existence of the first Irish Christians. Since the extreme remoteness of Skellig Michael has until recently discouraged visitors, the site is exceptionally well preserved.
Both of the Skellig islands are well known for their seabird colonies, and together comprise one of the most important seabird sites in Ireland, both for the population size and for the species diversity.
Among the breeding birds are European Storm-Petrels, Northern Gannets, Fulmars, Manx Shearwaters, Black-legged Kittiwakes, Common Guillemots, Razorbills and Atlantic Puffins (with 4,000 or more puffins on Great Skellig alone). Smaller numbers of Choughs and Peregrine Falcons can also be seen.
The surrounding waters teem with life also. Grey Seals are common, and Basking Sharks, Minke Whales, Dolphins, Beaked Whale, and Leatherback Turtles have also been recorded. The islands have many interesting recreational diving sites due to the clear water, an abundance of life, and underwater cliffs down to 60 meters (200 feet).
The boats departs daily from Portmagee pier at approximately 10:00am, weather permitting. The boat trip to the Skelligs takes 45 minutes and you have between 2 hours to 2 hours 30 minutes on the Island. The boat stops for a while at the Little Skelligs to allow you to view the bird colony and the seals. The return boat trip lasts a further 45 minutes and we arrive back in Portmagee at around 3 o'clock. It is advisable to book at least 2 days in advance. Contact caseys Boats for more information.
Also Skellig Michael Cruises offer you the opportunity to go around the Rocks without landing. They depart Portmagee at 10.30 and 13.30 daily the cruise lasts approx 2.5 hours.
Valentia Slate Quarry
Valentia, is an island of great beauty and contrast. It is joined to the mainland by bridge via Portmagee or serviced by a local ferry which runs from Renard Point to Knightstown from April to September.
The western part of the island is dominated by the barren, dramatic cliffs of Bray Head which command spectacular views of the Kerry coastline while the mild effect of the Gulf Stream results in Valentia's balmy climate and lush, colourful vegetation.
Valentia was the eastern terminus of the first commercially viable transatlantic telegraph cable. This vast endeavour resulted in commercially viable transatlantic telegraph communications from Foilhommerum Bay to Heart's Content, Newfoundland in 1866. Transatlantic telegraph cables operated from Valentia Island for one hundred years.
The island's main village, Knightstown, associated with the Norman Fitzgerald family, is reminiscent of an Anglo-Irish Village with its many stately buildings and refined ambience. The island's historical lineage, however, goes back much further than that. Tetra pod footprints were found on the northern part of the island. These magnificent imprints of history are thought to date from Devonian times between some 350 to 370 million years ago.
An important quarry on the northern part of the island which opened in 1816 still flourishes today. The famous Valentia Slate has been used in many prominent buildings including the British House of Commons in London
Shore fishing on Ballinskelligs Beach
The sheer variety of shore fishing in Kerry is the main problem - what to do next, and the good news is a sheltered mark is always available regardless of the wind direction. For the shore angler Bass, Flounder, Wrasse and Pollock are the main quarry with saltwater fly-fishing, a popular and increasing activity for Bass, Mullet and Pollock.Deep Sea angling is a popular activity in the area with Conger, Ling, Cod, Skate, Bullhuss, Spurdog and Blue Shark.
There are several fishing boat operators to be found in and around Cahersiveen offering reef and general inshore fishing, deep sea fishing and wreck fishing.Cod, Ling, Pollock, Conger, Ray, Dog, Bullhuss,Wrasse, Haddock, Gurnard, Coalfish, Pouting and Whiting are the main species of fish to be found in the area with Blue Sharks, Bluemouth, Skate and Sharks being more specialised varieties.Operational area is on average 15-20 miles from individual operator’s point of departure. See Cahersiveen Sea Angling Club for information on competitions and more information.
Chocolate making in St Finians Bay
Welcome to the Skelligs Chocolate Factory
If you have been to visit us before then you are in for a special treat as we have a new open plan state of the art chocolate production facility with a new cafe added on.
We have an open plan production where you can see the chocolates being made, ask questions and taste the freshly made treats, and we have a fantastic new mural based on the Willy Wonka factory . Also, there is no 'tour' (and therefore no entrance charge) - we are a small family run business located in a truly stunning location overlooking the Skellig Rocks (when it is not raining). We are fortunate to have St. Finians Bay beside us (100m) .
As part of your trip around the Ring of Kerry this is a perfect stop (during the summer), and we have a coffee shop on site that serves tea, coffee and our own special Hot Chocolates, a selection of homemade cakes and desserts. We do not do any lunch type food - This is strictly a treats only cafe. Coffee shop is open from the 15th of March 2013.