Cahersiveen (The Little Stone Fort of Sive) was aptly described by local poet and playwright Sigerson Clifford as “The Town that Climbs the Mountain and Looks upon the Sea”.
Cahersiveen is the capital of the Iveragh Peninsula and is one of the important stopping points on The Ring of Kerry. It is surrounded by mountains and situated on the southerly banks of the River Feartha. It has a population of approximately 1300 people and acts as a market town and service centre for the surrounding countryside.
In 1815 there were only 5 houses in the town but this changed rapidly due to the foresight of a Scotsman Alexander Nimmo. He set about constructing the present road from Mountain Stage, and after its completion in 1824, Cahersiveen began to develop and expand.
With the construction of the Pier in 1825, the fishing industry developed and around 1840 there were as many as 400 people employed directly and indirectly in the fishing industry. The extension of The Great Southern and Western Railway from Killorglin to Cahersiveen in 1893 was of great benefit to the social and economic life of South West Kerry.
The Cahersiveen tourist industry began to develop in the 1950’s and the area has a wealth of historical and archaeological sites. Ireland’s most famous son, ‘The Liberator’ Daniel O’Connell, was born at Carhan, Cahersiveen on August 6th 1775. In his honour, the Catholic Church – The Daniel O’Connell Memorial Church, built of Newry granite and Castleisland limestone, was dedicated to O’Connell, one of the few Catholic churches in the world dedicated to a layman.
Experience the local history of Cahersiveen and surrounding areas too at the Old Royal Irish Constabulary Barracks, situated on the banks for the River Feartha. Built in 1875, it is now an Interpretive Centre and will provide you with a rich insight into the history and traditions of the region. According to local legend, the barracks were intended to be built in India, but the plans got mixed up. It is certainly an impressive building that would not look out of place in India! Visit Ballycarberry Castle and the Iron Age Stone Forts of Leacanabuaile and Cahergal, which are two of the most spectacular examples in Ireland.
Sandy beaches abound the area, and horse riding is available locally too. Hill Walking trails have been developed in recent times and The Beentee Loop (which starts and finishes in the town centre), the Daniel O’Connell Walk and the Laharn Bog Loop trails are a must for visitors and locals alike. For those who enjoy cycling, rent a bike and spend the day cycling around Cahersiveen, Valentia Island and the Skellig Ring.
Deep Sea Fishing is world renowned here due particularly to the wide variety of species available but also for the dramatic backdrop that this beautiful location provides. The Cahersiveen Sea Angling Festival, set up in the 1950’s, has acted as an annual exhibition of the riches of the waters of the harbour. Over the years most of the European and Irish top anglers have competed in this prestigious competition.
Sailing and power boating have become very popular here since the introduction of Cahersiveen’s 106 berth marina. Should cruising not be first choice, visitors can take a tour of the harbour and visit the nearby islands of Beginish and Valentia on an amphibious craft.
Local sporting events such as Gaelic Football, Seine Boat Racing and Drag Hunting are held throughout the summer and make the most enjoyable experiences for both locals and visitors alike, full of fun and entertainment.
Cahersiveen boasts a wonderful selection of restaurants, a range of high-class shops and a choice of excellent accommodation. The town is very proud of its modern and traditional bars and music is available throughout the year, especially during the Summer season. The Celtic Music Festival takes place over the August Bank Holiday Weekend and is the major social event of the year. Come and join in!