||This article needs additional citations for verification. (December 2009)|
Gneeveguilla, officially Gneevgullia (Irish: Gníomh go Leith), is a small village in the Sliabh Luachra region of North East County Kerry, Ireland. It lies about 19 km (12 mi) east of Killarney, close to the County Kerry/County Cork border.
Gneeveguilla is situated in a region of scenic undulating hills and valleys and serves a rural hinterland consisting of dairy farms, pastureland and peatland. The beautiful agricultural environment around Gneeveguilla includes the townlands of Coom (Lower and Upper), Bawnard, Gullaun, Mausrower and Lisheen. At Mausrower, there used to be a large quarry in the early part of the 20th century, the remnants of which can be easily seen today as one approaches from the Killarney direction towards Lower Coom. Hence the junction at Lower Coom being known as the Quarry Cross.
The climate of Gneeveguilla is temperate, being similar that of the rest of the South West of Ireland, with continuously variable weather coming in from the Atlantic Ocean. In Winter it is often cooler than in Killarney (situated in a valley beside the Lakes of Killarney) due to the terrain of Gneeveguilla being some hundreds of metres more elevated than Killarney. Hence a few times during the Winter it is not uncommon for there to be no snow in Killarney, and yet just a relatively short distance away, near impassible snowbound conditions in Gneeveguilla. However snowy conditions typically persist for only some days at the most. Winter snow persists the longest on the MacGillycuddy's Reeks, Ireland's largest and highest mountain range to the West of Killarney, which can be seen from Gneeveguilla on clear days.
The nearest market town to Gneeveguilla that hosts cattle marts and street markets is Castleisland, toward the direction of Tralee; Knocknagree, a village much nearer just across the County Cork border beyond Lisheen, used to host cattle marts in earlier times but mart activity there apparently ceased at some point.
In the 19th century Gneeveguilla was the scene of a devastating event known as the Moving Bog. On the night of Sunday 28 December 1896, after a prolonged period of bad weather, sleeping families were awakened by a strange earthquake-like sound. When daylight broke, to their horror they realised that over 200 acres (0.81 km2) of bogland was on the move in a southerly direction, taking everything before it. It followed the course of the Ownachree river into the river Flesk. The bog continued to move until New Year's Day and came to rest covering hundreds of acres of pastureland. The Moving Bog claimed all but one member of an entire family and their livestock.
Nearby Lisheen was the home of Julia Clifford and Denis Murphy, traditional musicians. Gneeveguilla is the heartland of the Sliabh Luachra area, which gives rise to the term Sliabh Luachra style to describe the music style.Other famous exponents of this style to come from the Gneeveguilla area were renowned button accordion player Johnny O'Leary and renowned fiddle player Paddy Cronin, both of whom received the TG4 Gradaim Saol awards for their contribution to Irish music.
There is a statue in the village (nearby the parish church) in honour of the Sliabh Luachra-born master seanchaí (storyteller) Éamon Kelly (1914 – 2001). Here are two extracts from his second volume of autobiography, The Journeyman, published in 1998 by Marino Books. Here is an audiovisual of how Éamon Kelly told a story.
Gneeveguilla is home to Gneeveguilla AC, one of Ireland's successful grass roots athletics clubs. Established in 1978, it has enjoyed success in both local Kerry Athletics and at National Level.
Gneeveguilla is home to Ambrose O'Donovan, a former captain of the Kerry senior football team which won the 'Centenary All-Ireland' All-Ireland Senior Football Championship. Gneeveguilla won the Kerry Intermediate Football Championship in 2010, beating Finuge in the final in Austin Stack park in Tralee, They then went on to win the Munster Championship and lost the All-Ireland semi final by the smallest of margins, 1 point after extra time to St.James of County Galway.
In recent years, a South East Kerry Settlements Local Area Plan has been drawn up by the Kerry County Council Planning Department. It identifies constraints and opportunities for the future development of Gneeveguilla village and its hinterland. It recommends a consolidated approach for village development, avoidance of scattered and ribbon development, and reflection of the rural fabric of the area in the nature of services. It recommends environmental and pedestrian safety improvements. It is hoped that these recommendations can be implemented over the coming years.