Lixnaw (Co. Kerry / North)
Lixnaw (Leic Snámha – “The swimming flagstone” / Léac Snámha – “The swimming lake”) (pop. 250) is a village near the River Brick in the heart of rural North Kerry.
Lixnaw has a strong GAA tradition. (Photo – www.kerryman.ie)
Lixnaw Castle, of which little remains, was built in 1320 by Nicholas FitzMaurice, 3rd Baron of Lixnaw, whose descendants became Barons and later Earls of Kerry. In 1600 Sir Charles Wilmot and his forces garrisoned the castle and established it as their centre of operations. Subsequently re-taken by Lord Kerry, it was entrusted to his brother Gerald FitzMaurice, who was eventually forced to surrender due to lack of water. The castle was the principal childhood home of William Petty-FitzMaurice, made Earl of Shelburne in 1753, who served as the UK’s Prime Minister in 1782-3, and was created Marquess of Lansdowne in 1784. The castle was in ruins in 1837. A Sheela-na-Gig from the site is now on display in the NMI.
The local Agricultural Museum is quite interesting.
The Korean War Memorial honours 35 Irishmen, 25 of them US Army conscripts, who died in Korea between 1950 and 1953.
St. Michael’s church (RC) was designed by J.J.McCarthy and constructed in 1867; the interior has been “liturgically remodelled”.
St Michael’s Well, guarded by a statue of the Archangel defeating Lucifer, is reputed to be a particularly powerful Holy Well, with people coming from far and wide seeking cures for cancer, motor neuron disease, cerebral palsy, cystic fibrosis, MS, ME and ailments of the immune system.
Ceolann, the local branch of Comhaltas Ceoltóirí Éireann, incorporates a theatre, music shop and a museum/library, attracting thousands of visitors every year. Officially the Diarmuid O’Cathain Cultural Centre, it was a teacher’s residence for over seventy years before it was purchased by Comhaltas in 1982.
Lixnaw hosts the Feile Feabhra in early spring and a hugely popular Feile Cheoil in July.
Kilflynn (Co. Kerry / North)
Kilflynn (Cill Flainn – “church of Saint Flainn”, a hermit) is a tiny village with two pubs and a shop.
Kilflynn used to be called Stackstown; the local landowners were the Stack family, who gave their name to the nearby mountain range and built Crotta House, where Horatio (later Lord) Kitchener of WWI recruitment fame spent time as a child.
St. Mary’s church (RC), founded in 1848 and rebuilt in 1932, has an attractive interior with a high pine ceiling, well lit by a splendid rose window.
St Columbane’s church (CoI) in the middle of the village has been beautifully restored as the The Saint Columba Heritage Centre & Museum.
Kilflynn Museum and Bogland Information Centre, housed in an attractive large thatched cottage, has a Bog Village and a restaurant called A Day in the Bog. Regularly events include traditional music sessions and a “Poor Man’s Banquet”.
Kilflynn has an interesting old graveyard with a Republican plot.
Abbeydorney (Co. Kerry / North)
Abbeydorney (Mainistír Ó dTorna) (pop. 1150) is a friendly little town with several amiable hostelries, notably O’Connor’s Abbey Tavern and McElligott’s Bar.
Kyrie Eleison / Odorney Abbey, from which the town derives its name, was founded in 1154 by the regional chieftain The O’Torna. (Photo – Kglavin)
Initially run by monks from Monasteranenagh, this was the only medieval Cistercian establishment in County Kerry. Christian O’Conarchy, founder of the Irish mother house, Mellifont Abbey, was buried here in 1186. A subsequent abbot was deposed in 1227 for his involvement in the Conspiracy of Mellifont.
Following King Henry VIII‘s 1539 Dissolution of the Monasteries, Abbeydorney was granted to Edmund to FitzMaurice, 11th Baron of Kerry, but the monks themselves were not dispersed, and the abbot remained active until 1577, when he was shot at Lixnaw Castle.
The remains visible today include the C15th abbey church with its west tower and some of the cloistral buildings. The grounds have long been used as a cemetery.
Abbeydorney saw a lot of action during The Troubles, notably the IRA‘s Ambush at Shannow Bridge on some Black & Tans and Auxiliaries, which resulted in the death of one British officer and two popular Republican volunteers, who are buried in the old graveyard at Kilflynn.
St Bernard’s church (RC) is an interesting and attractive modern structure.
Killahan was the location of Tonaknock Abbey, supposedly of C7th origin and allegedly taken over in the C12th by the Knights Templar.
Only the ruins of the church remain; nearby there is a High Cross said to date from the C9th.
Listellick is the location of an An Oige Youth Hostel.