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Killorglin (Irish: Cill Orglan, meaning 'Orgla's Church') is a town in County Kerry, Ireland. As of the 2016 CSO census, the town's population was 2,199. Killorglin is on the Ring of Kerry tourist route, and annual events include the August Puck Fair festival, which starts with the crowning and parading of a "king" wild goat.
Origins and development
The earliest evidence of ancient settlement in the Killorglin area is the presence of prehistoric rock art. These rock carvings are part of a Late Neolithic/Early Bronze Age tradition stretching across Atlantic Europe and occur in concentrations around the Iveragh and Dingle peninsulas, with a cluster close to the nearby town of Glenbeigh. There are also a number of ringforts and early Christian ecclesiastical sites in the townlands of Dromavally and Castleconway. The ruins of Killorglin Castle, later known as Castle Conway, are located close to what is now the centre of the town. It was built in the early 13th century by Maurice FitzGerald, 2nd Lord of Offaly.
The area was held by the FitzGerald dynasty until the confiscation of their lands following the Desmond Rebellions in the late 16th century. In 1587, as part of the Munster Plantation, Killorglin (and its castle) was granted to Captain Jenkin Conway.
Much of the town centre was laid out in the 19th century. Killorglin's Roman Catholic church was built (on the site of an earlier church) in 1891. The Church of Ireland church was originally built in 1816 and significantly redeveloped in 1868. The town hall was built in the early 20th century with the help of Andrew Carnegie.
On Ballykissane Pier is a monument to commemorate the deaths of several Irish Volunteers, the first casualties of the Easter Rising in 1916. They were in a car that plunged off the pier into the River Laine while on the way to make contact with Roger Casement and a German arms ship masquerading as the Aud.
On Good Friday 21 April 1916, six Irish Volunteers set off from Dublin by train to Killarney. From there, they were to travel by car to Cahirciveen in order to seize control of the wireless station on Valentia Island. Thomas McInerney, who drove a car carrying three of the men, become lost just outside Killorglin and turned onto the road which led to the quay. The front wheels of the car went over the edge of the quay, became unbalanced, and fell into the River Laune. McInerney was the only person to escape the car and swim to shore. The other three occupants remained trapped in the vehicle and drowned.
Economy and tourism
Fexco, a major financial services company, was founded in Killorglin in 1981 and is still headquartered in the town. Pharmaceutical firms Temmler and Astellas have small plants in Killorglin. It also has the operations centre for the Prize Bond Company.
A 100m wind turbine was erected at the Astellas Plant on the Tralee Road in 2012 and has become a local landmark 
Killorglin is known for the annual Puck Fair festival, which traditionally starts with the crowning of a "king" goat. There is a large bronze King Puck statue on the edge of town close to the bridge. This 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 officially 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 recall some of the writers and poets who have written about Killorglin. These include Edso Crowley, Sigerson Clifford, Peter Joy and Johnny Patterson.
The Academy Award for Best Live Action Short Film-nominated short film The Shoe, directed by Dublin filmmaker Nick Kelly, was shot on Killorglin's Iron Bridge. The Academy Award for Best Animated Short Film-nominated stop-motion film Head Over Heels (2012) was produced by Cromane filmmaker Fodhla Cronin O'Reilly. Cronin O'Reilly attended secondary school in Killorglin.
As of 2015, Áine Moriarty from Killorglin is head of IFTA (Irish Film and Television Awards). Killorglin actor Muiris Crowley starred in the film Pilgrim Hill (2013). Directed by fellow Kerryman Gerard Barrett.
Music and events
Killorglin and its Puck Fair feature in a number of traditional Irish ballads and songs, including Bridget Donohue written by Johnny Patterson, King Puck by Christy Moore, and Wildflower of the Laune by Peter Joy.
A local tradition, Biddy's Day, occurs in the area during February. It involves groups, in traditional dress, visiting homes carrying a Brídeóg (or Biddy) effigy to ensure good luck. In 2019, this Mid-Kerry practice was one of 30 "Intangible cultural heritage" traditions afforded recognition by the state.
A number of books of local and national interest have been written about Killorglin and by Killorglin natives:
- "Things My Mother Never Told Me" (2003), by Blake Morrison, tells the story of the author's mother who was from Killorglin who emigrated to England.
- "Cast A Laune Shadow" (1997), by local historian Patrick (Pa) Houlihan (1918-2010), is a history of the town in story.
- "Puck Fair", by Pa's eldest son Michael Houlihan, is about the annual festival in August.
- "St James and Fr Tom", by Terence Houlihan and Billy Browne, details the development of St James's Catholic church by Fr Tom Lawlor.
- "The Civil War in Kerry", by local historian Tom Doyle, details the part Kerry and Killorglin played in the Irish Civil War.
Killorglin Rugby Club's Under-16 team won the West Munster Trophy in 2006, and Under-18 squad won the West Munster Trophy in 2008. The rugby club was awarded "Munster Youths Club of the Year" in 2008.
Former members of the local association football club, Killorglin AFC, include Shane McLoughlin (who went on to play with Ipswich Town F.C. and AFC Wimbledon). The 2009 and 2016 women's solo World Coastal Rowing Champion, Monika Dukarska, is a member of Killorglin Rowing Club.
The town is approximately 15 kilometres (9.3 mi) from the base of Carrauntoohil, Ireland's highest mountain, and 50 kilometres (31 mi) from Mount Brandon, Ireland's 2nd highest mountain. Both mountains are centres for hillwalking and mountaineering. The National Centre for Outdoor Education and Training (Cappanalea) is also nearby at Caragh Lake.
- Tom Barry, Irish revolutionary and author
- Máirín Cregan, revolutionary and 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 footballer
- Reginald Green, first-class cricketer
- "Census 2016 - Sapmap Area - Settlements -Killorglin". Census 2016. Central Statistics Office. April 2016. Retrieved 3 August 2019.
- "Cill Orglan / Killorglin". logainm.ie. Irish Placenames Commission. Retrieved 13 December 2020.
- Bradley, R (1997). Signing the Land; Rock Art and the Prehistory of Atlantic Europe. London: Routledge.
- A. O'Sullivan; J. Sheehan, eds. (1996). The Iveragh peninsula: an archaeological survey of South Kerry. Cork University Press.
- "Local Area Plans - Section 2 - Killorglin Local Area Plan" (PDF). kerrycoco.ie. Kerry County Council. Archived from the original (PDF) on 4 March 2016.
- "Estate: Conway (Kerry)". Landed Estates Database. NUI Galway. Retrieved 28 May 2021.
- Statement by Thomas O'Donnell (MP), The Irish People, 13 February. 1909, included in a report on Tower Model Village (County Cork)
- "Killorglin during the 1916 Rising". Archived from the original on 25 September 2015. Retrieved 11 September 2015.
- "100m wind turbine plan for Killorglin town - Independent.ie". kerryman.ie. Retrieved 23 April 2018.
- "Reeks District Visitor Information Centre". gokerry.ie. Go Kerry. Retrieved 18 April 2021.
- "Biddy's Day". Archived from the original on 22 January 2017.
- "Mid-Kerry Biddy tradition gets official state recognition". The Kerryman. Independent News & Media. 27 July 2019. Retrieved 3 August 2019.
- "Club History". killorglinrugby.com. Archived from the original on 16 September 2013.
- "New Zealander and Irishman to Join Academy Ranks". twtd.co.uk. 8 May 2013. Retrieved 18 April 2021.
- "PRO DEALS FOR TOWN SIX - News - Ipswich Town". itfc.co.uk. Retrieved 23 April 2018.
- "'I went against the grain by not playing GAA ... but it wasn't what I wanted to do'". independent.ie. Independent News & Media. 16 February 2019. Retrieved 28 May 2021.
- "Blades of glory: How a girl from Poznan, who settled in Killorglin, is on her way to the Olympics". independent.ie. Independent News & Media. 10 May 2020. Retrieved 28 May 2021.
- "Monika Dukarska". rowingireland.ie. Rowing Ireland. Retrieved 28 May 2021.
Monika is a two time World Coastal Champion in the women's solo, winning in 2009 and 2016
- "Cappanalea OETC, Caragh Lake, Killorglin, Co. Kerry". cappanalea.ie. Retrieved 28 May 2021.
- McGreevy, Ronan. "Home advantage – Ronan McGreevy on Tom Barry and the Rosscarbery attack". Irish Times, 22 March 2021. Retrieved 28 May 2021
- "The Kerry Magazine" (PDF) (23). The Kerry Archaeological & Historical Society. 2013: 50. Cite journal requires
- "20 years on - Mike Frank Russell looks back on the most memorable day in his career". the42.ie. 20 March 2016. Retrieved 20 April 2020.
- "From wild card to trump card: How Liam Hassett is shaking up the Kerry dressing room". irishexaminer.com. Irish Examiner. 27 August 2016. Retrieved 20 April 2020.
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