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Historically founded and developed on the beautiful River Laune. The Laune is well known for salmon and trout fishing. The population of Killorglin is 2085 (CSO 2011) although this expands considerably during Puck Fair due to visitors and returning emigrants. Killorglin is a major activity centre for Kerry and has a number of tourist hostels on Dromin Hill. It also has one of the last inns started by Charles Bianconi. It is right in the centre of the town, called the Bianconi and features his famous horse carriages painted on the sign and on the inn. The town hall is held to have been built with the help of Andrew Carnegie. FEXCO, which includes the operations centre for the Prize Bond Company are headquartered in Killorglin, in addition the Pharmaceutical firms Temmler and Astellas have small plants in the town.
The town contains the ruins of Castle Conway.
- 1 Nature
- 2 History
- 3 Festivals
- 4 Culture
- 5 Sport
- 6 Business and industry
- 7 International relations
- 8 People
- 9 See also
- 10 References
- 11 External links
The River Laune, (An Leimhain) in Irish, flows approximately 20 km to drain Killarney’s Lough Leane into the sea at Castlemaine Harbour. The Laune carries most of the rainfall from the MacGillycuddy Reeks, Ireland’s highest mountain range. Many streams on the south side of the Reeks drain into Killarney’s Upper Lake before filtering down to Lough Leane. As the River Laune drains Lough Leane to the sea, it is fed by two rivers running north from the Reeks, the River Loe from the Gap of Dunloe and the Gaddagh River from the heart of the Reeks. Another tributary, the Cottoners River, carries rainwater from the west of the Reeks. On the southern side of the bridge, a low embankment runs upstream for about 1 km towards Killarney. This is part of over 40 km of embankments that prevent the sea from flooding low-lying land around Castlemaine Harbour. These embankments exist due to Napoleon’s dominance in Europe around the year 1808. The British government were looking for alternative sources of hemp to make sailcloth for their navy to defend against a possible invasion. If the bogs of Ireland could be drained then they could be used to grow this raw material without impacting on the existing agricultural output of the country. In 1811-1812 Alexander Nimmo surveyed and mapped over 76,000 acres (30,700 ha) of land on the Iveragh Peninsula for the Bogs Commission. Over 17,000 acres (7,000 ha) of this were on the sea shore area of the Laune River, Lower River Maine and Castlemaine Harbour. Now over 200 years later, these stone and earthen banks still prevent high tides flooding much of this land. The banks vary from 1m to over 5m in height. Sluice gates allow water drain out at low tide and prevent rising tides from flooding the land. The banks run from the townland of Tullig near Cromane, to Killorglin, part way up the Laune, around the area of Callinafercy, up both sides of the River Maine and along the north side of Castlemaine Harbour, part way to Inch. Various major repairs are evident where large rocks and concrete have replaced the stone and earth, however much of the original banks are still intact, a testimony to the skilled workers who built them. The Killorglin river bank walk and the Astellas river bank walk downstream of the Iron Bridge are both part of these 200-year-old embankment.
Located on Ballykissane Pier is a monument to commemorate the loss of life of three Volunteers. In 1916 their car plunged into the sea while they were on the way to Cahirciveen in order to set up radio communications with Sir Roger Casement and the German arms ship the Aud.
On Good Friday 21 April 1916, 3 men set off from Dublin by train to Killarney, Charlie Monaghan, Donal Sheehan, Con Keating and Thomas McInerney. They were to travel by car to Cahirciveen in order to seize control of the wireless station on Valentia Island. Thomas McInerney drove the car carrying Con, Charlie, and Donal. Since Denis knew the route, the vehicle got lost just outside Killorglin. McInerney asked a young girl for directions to Cahirciveen. She told them to take the first turn on the right. Not knowing the road, Thomas mistook the turn which led to the quay. In the darkness he only realised his mistake when the two front wheels of the car went over the unprotected edge into the River Laune which is deep and wide at this point. It is said that in the moonlight, the reflection of the water resembled a continuance of the road. In the ensuing panic the car became unbalanced and fell into the river with its four passengers still on board. Totally disoriented Thomas McInerney started to swim heading in the wrong direction, only for the intervention of local man Thady O’Sullivan, who guided him back to the shore. At this stage it was clear that the three other occupants of the car had somehow become trapped in the vehicle and had sadly in all likelihood quickly drowned.
Every year, starting on 10 August, Killorglin holds the famous three-day Puck Fair, the oldest traditional fair in Ireland. Puck Fair celebrated its 400th Anniversary celebrations in 2013.
The most widely mentioned story relating to the origin of King Puck, associates him with the English Ironside Leader Oliver Cromwell. It is related that while the “Roundheads” were pillaging the countryside around Shanara and Kilgobnet at the foot of the McGillycuddy Reeks, they routed a herd of goats grazing on the upland. The animals took flight before the raiders, and the he-goat or “Puck” broke away on his own and lost contact with the herd. While the others headed for the mountains he went towards Killorglin on the banks of the Laune. His arrival there in a state of semi exhaustion alerted the inhabitants of the approaching danger and they immediately set about protecting themselves and their stock.
It is said that in recognition of the service rendered by the goat, the people decided to institute a special festival in his honour and this festival has been held ever since.
Puck Fair a substantial source of revenue and business for the town as a large influx of people descends upon the town each year for the festival.
K-Fest Music and The Arts
Founded in 2013, K-Fest Music & The Arts aims to promote culture in all its forms and to nurture the growth of music and the arts to include galleries, live music, film, spoken word, children’s workshops and to foster participation in the arts and artistic thought for all ages. It presents emerging and ground-breaking artists in a unique setting in disused houses, shops and buildings in Killorglin town.
Killorglin is home to the well respected national Arts Prize The Screaming Pope Prize. The prize is named after a colloquial name for a Francis Bacon painting. It was founded in 2014 and runs in association with K-Fest. The Latvian Painter Girts Balodis won the prize in its inaugural year. Cork Artist Lorraine McDonnell in 2015,Kerry Artist Tracey Sexton won the prize in 2016 and Niamh Porter in 2017
The Flavour of Killorglin
Established in 2012. The Flavour of Killorglin celebrates the culinary delights of Killorglin and the surrounding area, combining great food with events and entertainment for food lovers, the local community and all the visitors – big and small. It runs the middle of September each year. In 2015, the event happens from September 11–13. Local restaurants and food merchants display their produce in outdoor street stalls and a food trail is followed allowing the public to sample all the delicious local produce including fresh fish and shellfish, sausages, puddings, vegetables, honey, desserts and craft beers.
Other events at the annual festival include canoeing and angling on the Laune to zumba and salsa on Library Place.
The Biddy is honoured every year in the mid-Kerry region, with Biddy groups visiting rural and public houses. They carry a Brídeóg with them to ensure evil spirits are kept away from humans and animals alike for the coming year. The Biddy’s goes way back with its heritage being a mixture of Christianity (St Bridgid) and ancient Celtic traditions (Imbolg). Imbolg is one of the four Celtic festivals along with Lá Bealtaine, Lughnasa and Samhain. Traditionally, a visit from the Biddy guaranteed good luck, fertility, prosperity and to not receive a visit was considered a terrible sleight.In 2017 a unique festival was created to celebrate the Biddy tradition. The highlight of this festival was the torchlight parade of the Biddys through Killorglin town and the King of the Biddy's contest held in Library place.
St. Patrick's Day
An annual St. Patrick's Day parade takes place on 17 March. An array of outdoor activities and music is arranged for free by the community volunteers.
Killorglin is known for the large bronze King Puck statue on the edge of town as you cross the town bridge to enter Killorglin. The striking statue was commissioned by the Killorglin Millennium Committee and designed by Valentia Island Sculptor Alan Ryan Hall. The King Puck Statue and Puck Garden was completed in 2001 and official unveiled by Killorglin Lord Mayor Paudie Cronin and the Killorglin Millennium Committee.
In 2011, The Puck Poet plaques were added to the Puck Garden to show respect to just some of the colourful writers, poets and poems that have been written about Killorglin. The poets include Edso Crowley, Sigerson Clifford, Peter Joy and Johnny Patterson.
The town has a large mural designed by Polish/Cork artist Pawet Wrobelski at K-Fest Music and The Arts in 2014. The mural shows a young woman dressed in a boiler suit about to launch a toy craft plane. She stands where the King Puck statue is actually situated on the entrance of the town.
A number of books of local and national interest have been written about Killorglin and by Killorglin natives:
- "Things My Mother Never Told Me" by Blake Morrison (Vintage 2003 ISBN 0-09-944072-5) tells the story of the author's mother who was from Killorglin who emigrated to England.
- "Cast A Laune Shadow" released in the 1997 by local historian Patrick (Pa) Houlihan (1918-2010) explores the rich history of the town in story.
- "Puck Fair" by Pa's eldest son Michael Houlihan, about the famed festival that takes place in the town each August.
- "St. James and Fr.Tom" written and compiled by Terence Houlihan and Billy Browne explains the funding, construction and historical relevance of the large Catholic Church in the town centre, St. James's Church built by Fr. Tom Lawlor.
- "The Civil War in Kerry" by local historian Tom Doyle. Details the part Kerry and Killorglin had to play in the Irish Civil War in the 1920s.
- "The Man With No Libido" written by Jason Browne. Award-winning graphic novel released in 2011.
- "Puck Poets" compiled and edited by Conor Browne. Released in 2015. A collection spanning three centuries of poetry, songs and images about and by Killorglin natives.
The father of Hollywood actor Ed Begley (1901-1970) was born in Laharn, Killorglin. The culmination of Begley's work was a Best Supporting Actor Academy Award for his role of Boss Finley in Tennessee Williams's Sweet Bird of Youth (1962).
The Academy Award for Best Live Action Short Film nominated short film 'The Shoe' directed by Dublin Film maker Nick Kelly was shot on Killorglin's iconic Iron Bridge. The short film starred Irish actor Peter Coonan best known for playing Fran in RTÉ One series Love/Hate (2010-2014).
The Academy Award for Best Animated Short Film nominated the stop-motion film 'Head Over Heels' (2012) which was produced by Cromane film maker Fodhla Cronin O'Reilly. Cronin O'Reilly attended secondary school in The Intermediate School Killorglin.
As of 2015, Áine Moriarty from Killorglin is head of IFTA (Irish Film and Television Awards).
Both Killorglin and Puck Fair feature in a variety of traditional Irish Ballads and songs. 'Bridget Donohue' written by Johnny Patterson. 'King Puck' by Christy Moore and 'Wildflower of the Laune' by Peter Joy are just some examples.
An annual pantomime is produced each January. Directed for the past 30 years by local actor Declan Mangan.
Killorglin host a number of live music venues. The C.Y.M.S, Bunkers Bar, Kingstons Beer Garden and Sol Y Sombra all regularly host local and national bands. Sol Y Sombra has hosted well known Irish acts including Declan O'Rourke, Mundy and Mick Flannery.
Food and drink
The town has a selection of restaurants, cafes and take-aways. Some serve traditional Irish cuisine or seafood and fish dishes sourced locally from the River Laune or nearby fishing village Cromane. There are also a number of national artisan food merchants that sell locally produced foods, including fresh fish, meats, fruit and vegetables, eggs and artisan cheeses and bread.
Crafty Divils King Puck is an Irish Pale Ale beer produced in Killorglin since 2014.
Killorglin Golf course situated just 3 km outside the town has a popular 18 hole parkland. Founded in 1992. Designed by Eddie Hackett, Irish golf architect of his generation. They were Jimmy Bruen All Ireland Champions 2013.
Killorglin Rugby Club under 16 team won the West Munster Trophy in 2006 and went forward to compete in the final of the Munster Championship, which they lost. In 2008 the Under 18 squad won the West Munster Trophy against Tralee R.F.C.
Killorglin AFC has an association football club, . Former player, Shane McLoughlin is with Ipswich Town F.C.  He has also played with the Republic of Ireland U15's and U16's. Shane has since went on to sign his first ever professional contract, also with Ipswich, after impressing at U-18 and U-21 level.
Killorglin Rowing Club (KRC) was founded in the early 1990s, situated on the banks of the river Laune. The river being the venue for water based training when the tides are right. The state-of-the-art boat house was completed in 2004 and the facilities are well used for land based training when they can’t get on the river. KRC was the first club in Ireland affiliated to both rowing unions, the Irish Amateur Rowing Union (IARU) and the Irish Coastal Rowing Federation (ICRF). Polish born Killorglin trained rower Monika Dukarska represents Ireland in rowing in the Women’s Double Scull category.
Killorglin Cycling Club.....
Killorglin Canoeing Club....
Cappanalea, Outdoor Activities
Killorglin is the home of Cappanalea Outdoor Education Centre, which is run under the auspices of Kerry Education Service since 1981. The popular outdoor activity center caters for the full range of adventure sports and environmental studies. Activities include: Kayaking, Rock Climbing, Camping, Canoeing, Hill Walking, Orienteering, Sailing, Mountaineering, Sea Kayaking and Abseiling.
Business and industry
Recent developments include:
- An expansion by the Killorglin-based financial services firm FEXCO resulting in two large sites in Killorglin.
- A sizeable mixed development of commercial, residential and public buildings. Aldi has now filled the large retail chain slot in the development.
- The fair field, the main carpark in the centre of Killorglin, was completed resurfaced and repaired by Kerry County Council in 2012.
- A 100m wind turbine was erected at the Astellas Plant on the Tralee Road in 2012
- Killorglin Chamber Alliance founded in 2015.
- There are over 65 voluntary and part-time committees, clubs and organistations within Killorglin, ranging with everything from the Tidy Towns to Puck Fair.
- In January 2017, a video of patrons of Falveys Bar celebrating the life of Ger Foley went viral on social media site Reddit.
- Dick Cheney, former Vice President of the United States. Cheney's grandmother on his mother's side was a woman called Deborah Naughton, who originally came from Raingue, Killorglin. She emigrated to Chicago around 1923 and married another Kerry native, Michael Clifford from Kells, in South Kerry.
- Ed Begley, Actor, Academy Award Winner. His father Michael hailed from Laharn, a Killorglin townland.
- Tom Barry, Irish revolutionary and author.
- James Cahillane, Irish-born American politician and businessman. One of only two Irish born mayors in the United States when elected.
- Máirín Cregan, writer of children's books, was born in Killorglin in 1891.
- Mike-Frank Russell, Former Kerry GAA footballer and All-Star.
- Liam Hassett, Former Kerry GAA footballer.
- Daniel Clifford, cyclist, former professional and Irish national team cyclist.
- Monika Dukarska, Rower, represents Ireland in rowing in the Women’s Double Scull category.
- Statement by Thomas O'Donnell (MP), The Irish People, February 13. 1909, included in a report on Tower Model Village (County Cork)
- "kfest2015". kfest2015. Retrieved 2015-09-23.
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