Killorglin is situated in the heart of Kerry on the River Laune. This lively town on a hill is best known for one of Ireland's oldest, longest and unusual festivals, Puck Fair.
This annual event celebrated on the 10th, 11th and 12th of August has its origins in the mists of time, and is Ireland’s oldest street festival. One legend is that Puck Fair honours an event during Cromwellian Ireland when a stampede of wild goats ran through the town warning the residents of the approach of Cromwell's Army. To celebrate this event a wild Puck goat is captured and enthroned on a pedestal. The town really celebrates this historical event in style with a number of events held in the town over the three days, including the Guinness Busking Competition, open air concerts and dancing displays all laid on for the influx of 100,000 visitors. Killorglin natives based all over the world make a big effort to be home for “Puck”, and around Kerry the town of Killorglin is referred to as “Puck”.
The River Laune (leamhain, elm tree), its salmon-rich waters and fertile valley are the origin of the settlement that now is the lively town of Killorglin. The river is the focal point, with river walks and an active rowing club. The Laune Salmon and Trout Anglers Association is a welcoming group and helps visiting anglers. The members provide excellent information from local guides to permits and licences.
Killorglin is an ideal destination for visiting and touring. It is the gateway to the famed Ring of Kerry on the Iveragh Peninsula. It provides easy access to the popular Kerry Way walking trail, there is great fishing and you can smoke your catch in the fish smoke house by the river. It boasts a backdrop of Ireland’s highest mountain range, the MacGillycuddy’s Reeks and it is close to the wonderful beaches of Cromane, Dooks and Rossbeigh which are washed by the Atlantic waters of Dingle Bay. There are adventure and field-study activities at the Cappanalea Outdoor Education and Training Centre in nearby Glencar, where there are superb cycling routes through the valleys of Glencar and Caragh Lake.
Killorglin bustles with energy and is the gateway to the south west of the Kingdom. There are many fine places to stay, great pubs, renowned restaurants and cosy cafes. It is home to the award winning Killorglin Cheese from Wilma’s Cheese Farm and local honey is made up at Sunhill by the Curran family. Savour all the local produce at Killorglin’s Country Market every Friday morning where artisan home producers have their produce for sale.
Other activity ideas to consider are teeing off at Killorglin Golf Club, a parkland course with glorious views over the River Laune, Castlemaine Harbour and the Slieve Mish Mountain range and you can play squash, badminton and basketball at the Sports Complex. Killorglin has a strong GAA tradition and is home to the successful Laune Rangers football team. Visitors can catch a game at the local football grounds.
Visitor attractions include Ballykissane Pier and its colourful annual regatta, and the nearby Kerry Woollen Mills. The Mills is one of the last surviving traditional woollen mills and was established over 300 years ago to alleviate local poverty. There are prehistoric ringforts in the area, many with souterrains (underground chambers), leading to the once held belief that some were connected by an under river passage. A wonderful experience for art lovers is the amazing Seven Ages Art Exhibition which showcases the works from the life of renowned artist, Pauline Bewick. This remarkable collection is displayed over three floors at the Kerry County Council Building at Library Place and the admission is free. Other cultural activities include drama productions by the local group “The little Chapel on the Hill”, the annual Killorglin Pantomime and regular traditional music sessions throughout the year. Children will love the new playground behind the library building.
There are two local national monuments. The first was erected to Townsend Blennerhasset, a member of the Kerry Militia, who was drowned in 1867 while rescuing a friend. The second is at the Ballykissane pier, where three Irish Volunteers were drowned in 1916.
Dromavalla Church: The ruins of this old church still remain standing and shows that sections were built at different times. The church may have been erected by the Audustine Friars from Killagha Abbey in nearby Milltown.
Castle Conway: The first castle built on this site may have been in 1587 shortly after Jenkin Conway was granted Killorglin Manor by Queen Elizabeth I. By 1600 it was burned to the ground by the MacCarthys, the now ruined tower house was built by the successors the Blennerhassetts..