Waterville, County Kerry

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An Coireán
Waterville in November sunshine
Waterville in November sunshine
Motto(s): "The Little Whirlpool"
Waterville is located in Ireland
Location in Ireland
Coordinates: 51°49′39″N 10°10′20″W / 51.827583°N 10.172181°W / 51.827583; -10.172181Coordinates: 51°49′39″N 10°10′20″W / 51.827583°N 10.172181°W / 51.827583; -10.172181
Country Ireland
Province Munster
County County Kerry
Population (2016)
 • Urban 462
Time zone UTC+0 (WET)
 • Summer (DST) UTC-1 (IST (WEST))
Irish Grid Reference V499659
Website www.visitwaterville.ie
Bronze statue of Charlie Chaplin

Waterville, historically known as Coirean[1] (Irish: An Coireán, meaning "little cauldron"), is a village in County Kerry, Ireland, on the Iveragh Peninsula. The town is sited on a narrow isthmus, with Lough Currane on the east side of the town, and Ballinskelligs Bay on the west, and the Currane River connecting the two.

The town's name in Irish Coireán refers to the shape of Ballinskelligs Bay on which the town sits; the name, however, has been transplanted onto the lake with the Irish name being Loch Luíoch or Loch Luidheach.

The Butler family built a house at the mouth of the River Currane in the latter part of the 18th century. They named their house and estate Waterville. The village that developed on the estate during the first half of the 19th century was also named Waterville.

The N70 Ring of Kerry route passes through the town. Waterville has a population of 538 (CSO 2002).


The first successful transatlantic cable was finally laid after a number of attempts in 1865 by the Anglo American Telegraph Company between Heart's Content in Newfoundland and Labrador and Valentia Island near Waterville.

Waterville's role in transatlantic communication came later when in the 1880s, the Mackay-Bennett Commercial Cable Company laid their first Transatlantic telegraph cable from the nearby townland of Spunkane to Hazel Hill, near Canso, Nova Scotia. The cable station brought much activity to Waterville and increased the town's size. Waterville served as the principal European hub for the Commercial Cable Company and as such played a very important role in transforming the accessibility and utilisation of cables as Commercial Cable Company was responsible for introducing competition into the market and lowering of prices.

Telegraph cables[edit]

On 13 July 1866, SS Great Eastern steamed westward from Valentia Island laying telegraph cable behind her. The successful landing at Heart's Content, Newfoundland on 27 July, established the first telegraph link between Europe and North America.

Later, additional cables were laid from Valentia Island and new stations opened at Ballinskelligs (1874) and Waterville (1884) making County Kerry a focal point for intercontinental communication. The Commercial Cable Company were able to lay cables from Waterville to Canso, Nova Scotia, with onward connections. Connections from Waterville to Weston-super-Mare in England and Le Havre in France were soon established. During the Civil War, the communication system between Paris and New York went down on 7 August 1922 when IRA irregulars seized Waterville.[2]

In July 2000, the cable stations received an International Milestone Heritage Site Award from the IEEE (Institute of Electronic and Electrical Engineers Inc USA) for their significance in the history of electrical science. The Kerry cable stations are recognised as World Heritage Communications Sites.[3]

Waterville's cable station history is outlined at the permanent exhibition in Tech Amergin centre and the remaining structures and locations feature in the Waterville Heritage Trail


Mick O'Dwyer in the Timeless Landscape
  • The town was a favourite holiday spot of Charlie Chaplin and his family who used to stay in the Butler Arms Hotel. They first visited the town in 1959 and came back every year for over ten years. There is a statue of him in the centre of the village in his memory. The community has also obtained permission from the Charlie Chaplin estate to hold the inaugural Charlie Chaplin Comedy Film Festival in the spirit of Charlie Chaplin, the first festival was held in 2011.
  • It is the home of Mick O'Dwyer, Gaelic footballer and former Kerry senior football manager in the 1970s and 1980s. The landowners in Waterville and its environs were the Marquess of Landsdowne, the Hartopps and the Butlers. Both the Hartopps and Butlers were considered good landlords who were helpful to tenants and created employment. The Hartopp Arms Hotel was recorded as elegant as early as 1858.[4] This was later known as the Southern Lake Hotel. It was demolished and the Waterville Lake Hotel constructed in its place at the beginning of the 1970s.

On 4 July 2008, the American academic Cass Sunstein married Samantha Power; the wedding took place in the Church of Mary Immaculate, Lohar, Waterville, County Kerry in Power’s native Ireland.[5]


Waterville Golf Links
  • Waterville Golf links has been voted the 5th best golf course in UK and Ireland.
  • The newly opened Skellig's Bay Golf Club has been listed as 67th in the same vote.
  • Waterville GAA is the local Gaelic Athletic Association club. The club has been rebuilt and includes a gym.


South West Kerry Communities developed a website for Waterville and launched it on 13 February 2009.[6] The community has arranged to hold the inaugural Charlie Chaplin Comedy Film Festival on 25–28 August 2011 [7]

Tech Amergin[edit]

The Tech Amergin adult education centre (named after a mythical explorer to the area) has been refurbished. It offers successful events and shows, as well as exhibitions and vocational training.[8]

Local features[edit]

Eightercua is a four-stone alignment (stone-row) Megalithic tomb, located 1.5 km south-south-east of the village

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Placenames Database of Ireland". Logainm.ie. 2010-12-13. Retrieved 2011-11-10.
  2. ^ The Times, US Cable Cut, 8 August 1922
  3. ^ http://www.ieeeghn.org/wiki/index.php/Milestones:County_Kerry_Transatlantic_Cable_Stations,_1866
  4. ^ Carter Hall. A Week in Killarney. 1858
  5. ^ [1] Archived 4 March 2010 at the Wayback Machine.
  6. ^ "www.visitwaterville.ie". www.visitwaterville.ie. 2011-10-16. Retrieved 2011-11-10.
  7. ^ McNamara, Eimhin. "Charlie Chaplin Comedy Film Festival". Chaplinfilmfestival.com. Retrieved 2011-11-10.
  8. ^ "Adult Education Centre, and events venue". Techamergin.com. Retrieved 2011-11-10.

External links[edit]