Enjoy Built Heritage, Archaeology & Architecture
Kerry – Ciarraí in Irish, is named after the descendants of the tribe of Ciar (ciar-raighe). People have been visiting Kerry for over 7,000 years and the fingerprints of these early settlers on the rugged landscape can be found throughout the county. Whether you want to explore the uplands of the county and experience the burial and ritual monuments of the Neolithic and Bronze Age or take a more sedate trip back in time to the medieval abbeys and castles of the fertile lowlands, there is a journey of exploration to suit everyone. Regions of the Iveragh and Beara peninsulas are virtually untouched since Neolithic and Bronze Age settlers built great burial cairns to honour their dead, and erected alignments and circles of stone to mark the passing of the seasons and the movements of the sun and moon. The Dingle peninsula is dotted with the small early ecclesiastical settlements and hermitages where early monks sought a refuge from the material world and union with the divine, while North Kerry with its rolling plains, ringforts, castles and abbeys, is a monument to the county’s medieval past.
Visitors can wonder at the monastic settlement at Skellig Michael; Mesolithic settlements at Ferriters Cove on the Dingle Peninsula; the stone fort at Staigue Fort near Caherciveen; the promontory forts at Caherconree in Camp and Dún an Óir in Smerwick; Gallaras Oratory near Ballyferriter; Ratoo Round Tower in Ballyduff, near Listowel – just a taster of the hundreds of fascinating and insightful relics of our past that are waiting to be explored.
Kerry is a county steeped in a wealth of architectural heritage that spans many centuries and this heritage reflects the life, times and culture of its people. Kerry is notable for the number of vernacular buildings that survive to the present. Numerous fine examples of various architectural styles can be found throughout the county – bridges; 19th Century railway stations; domestic architecture, both large and small; Churches; schools; country houses; a windmill; thatched cottages; courthouses and prominent commercial buildings and more.
A visit to Muckross House and Gate Lodge and Deenagh Lodge in Killarney; Ardfert Cathedral; the Old RIC Barrracks in Caherciveen (now a Heritage Centre), to Churches such as St. John’s Church in Dingle, where you can visit the Harry Clarke stained glass windows at Díseart; www.diseart.ie St James Church, Killorglin; St John’s Church, Listowel – just a few places of architectural interest that you can incorporate into your Kerry holiday. To find out more about architecture in Kerry, click on: www.buildingsofireland.ie