Ard na Caithne

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Ard na Caithne
Smerwick
Town
Ard na Caithne is located in Ireland
Ard na Caithne
Ard na Caithne
Location in Ireland
Coordinates: 52°11′17″N 10°25′14″W / 52.188141°N 10.420532°W / 52.188141; -10.420532Coordinates: 52°11′17″N 10°25′14″W / 52.188141°N 10.420532°W / 52.188141; -10.420532
Country Ireland
Province Munster
County County Kerry
Time zone WET (UTC+0)
 • Summer (DST) IST (WEST) (UTC-1)
Irish Grid Reference Q347072

Ard na Caithne (Irish pronunciation: [ˈaːɾˠd̪ˠ nˠə ˈkanʲə]), meaning height of the arbutus or strawberry tree, also known as Smerwick in English, in the heart of the Kerry Gaeltacht is one of the principal bays of Corca Dhuibhne. It is nestled at the foot of An Triúr Deirfiúr and Cnoc Bhréanainn, which at 952 metres (3,123 ft) is the highest mountain in the Brandon group. Bounded by the villages of Baile an Fheirtéaraigh, Baile na nGall and Ard na Caithne itself, the area is what has been known as the Fíor-Ghaeltacht, or true Gaeltacht, in recent decades.

Ard na Caithne (old anglicised form Ardnaconnia) was also known in Irish as Iorras Tuaiscirt ("north peninsula") and Gall-Iorras ("peninsula of the strangers").

Early Christian history[edit]

Ard na Caithne has a significant place in both the history of south-west Munster and Ireland. The early Christian Gallarus Oratory and An Riasc monastic site nearby are central archeological and tourist attractions.

In Desmond Rebellions - Dún an Óir[edit]

James Fitzmaurice Fitzgerald landed a small Papal invasion force in July 1579, initiating the second Desmond rebellion, but was killed only a month afterward.

On 10 September 1580, a force of Italian and Spanish Papal troops combined with both Irish and English forces numbering over 600 commanded by Sebastiano di San Giuseppi landed to support the rebellion carrying a banner blessed by the Pope bearing the coat of arms of Fitzmaurice and occupied Dún an Óir ('Fort of the Gold'), an Iron age Promontory fort located near the harbour. The force was accompanied by Dr. Sanders a religious zealot with bearing the respect and backing of many of the Catholic kings and princes of Europe. This precipitated the Siege of Smerwick, which culminated with their surrender to English forces under the command of Lord Grey. They were all massacred on the spot immediately after the surrender was complete. The killing was later brought against Raleigh as one of the charges at his trial; he avoided conviction by pleading that he had to obey the orders of his superior officer.[1]

Ard na Caithne Harbour[edit]

The harbour where Fitzmaurice's invasion force landed was also the landfall of the returning transatlantic expedition of Sir Martin Frobisher in 1578.[2]

Piaras Feiritéar[edit]

In the nearby Caisleán Feiritéar lived the famous 17th-century poet and Hiberno-Norman lord Piaras Feiritéar. Feiritéar's life was anything but uninteresting and in both his poetry and actions he won enormous support and honour from his community. He was executed at the hands of the Cromwellians in Killarney in 1653, following the Cromwellian conquest of Ireland, for his part in the Irish Rebellion of 1641. His death was known in the region, and he remains a folk hero in the local community today.[citation needed]

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