Welcome to Ballymacelligott

Ballymacelligott Church Arch By John Crowley Arabela House


Ballymacelligott (Baile Mhic Eilegóid – the town of McElligott)  is situated 7 kilometres (4.3 miles) east of  Tralee.

The parish of Ballymacelligott (know locally as Ballymac) extends between Tralee and Castleisland and is named after the McElligott clan who had castles at Carrignafeela, Arabella and Bealagrellagh.

This parish is rich in history and ancient settlements.  The Archaeological Survey of Ireland lists well over a hundred sites in this area, including ringforts, souterrains, churches, ogham stones, quern stones, burial sites and a number of examples of the common cooking sites known as “fulacht fiadh” in Irish.  Flemby Ring Fort is well preserved and the owners allow public access (adjacent to Ivy House in Flemby).

In 2000 work on the new Tralee to Killarney N22 road unearthed what could well be a Bronze Age ringed settlement near Flemby, which archaeologists have described as one of the most exciting finds ever made in Kerry. The find included a Bronze Age house, a burial tomb, a large collection of pottery (Beaker pottery) and an axe head. While these discoveries are rare enough in Kerry, what makes this so unique is that they were all found in the same area.  These artefacts are currently on display in Kerry County Museum, Tralee.

Apart from many castles, Ballymac also had many “Great Houses” who were once the scene of banquets and balls for the gentry and their ladies.  These included Arabella House, Edenburn, Chute Hall and Glenduff House. Arabella House, a historic 18th Century Georgian House is open to the public from April to June, or by appointment.  The site of Ballymacelligott Castle is close by and while nothing of it remains above ground, it is claimed that some materials from the structure have been incorporated in Arabella House.

There are a choice of wonderful walks available at Glanageenty Forest Trail.  Gleann na Caointe in Irish meaning Valley of Tears, so called because it was nearby that Gerald, the last Earl of Desmond, was beheaded in 1583 after months of hiding out in this forest.  This is known as the Sherwood Forest of Kerry because it was once home to famous heroes and bandits.  There are a choice of 3 looped walks here through ancient woodland with glorious vistas of Carrantuohill, the Gap of Dunloe and Mount Brandon, you may also spot some wild goats grazing peacefully so don’t forget your camera!

There is quality accommodation available in local B & B’s also Glenduff House and the Earl of Desmond Hotel .  The local pubs include O’Riadas and the Halfway House where locals extend a warm welcome to all its visitors. With its close proximity to all the amenities in Tralee and Castleisland, you can experience a traditional holiday in this wonderful rural setting where the hospitality and friendliness of the local people (and some of their tales) are sure to leave a lasting impression!

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