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Killorglin (Irish: Cill Orglan, meaning "Orgla's Church") is a town in County Kerry, Ireland. It is situated on the Ring of Kerry and The Wild Atlantic Way.


Cill Orglan
Killorglin Town
Killorglin Town
Killorglin is located in Ireland
Location in Ireland
Coordinates: 52°06′23″N 9°47′06″W / 52.106505°N 9.785042°W / 52.106505; -9.785042Coordinates: 52°06′23″N 9°47′06″W / 52.106505°N 9.785042°W / 52.106505; -9.785042
CountyCounty Kerry
Time zoneUTC+0 (WET)
 • Summer (DST)UTC-1 (IST (WEST))
Irish Grid ReferenceV774965

As of the 2016 CSO census, the town's population was 2,199.[1] Killorglin is a major activity centre for the Reeks District which is known for its outdoor activities, mountains walks and water sports. The town hall was built with the help of Andrew Carnegie.[2] Fexco, which includes the operations centre for the Prize Bond Company, was founded and is headquartered in Killorglin. In addition, the pharmaceutical firms Temmler and Astellas have small plants in the town. The town contains the ruins of Castle Conway.

The Puck Fair festival takes place in Killorglin on the 10th, 11th and 12th of August each year. This annual festival ends with the crowning and parading of a "king" wild goat.

Lower Bridge Street



River LauneEdit

The River Laune, (An Leimhain) in Irish, flows approximately 20 km to drain Killarney's Lough Leane into the sea at Castlemaine Harbour. The Laune carries most of the rainfall from the MacGillycuddy Reeks, Ireland's highest mountain range. Many streams on the south side of the Reeks drain into Killarney's Upper Lake before filtering down to Lough Leane. As the River Laune drains Lough Leane to the sea, it is fed by two rivers running north from the Reeks, the River Loe from the Gap of Dunloe and the Gaddagh River from the heart of the Reeks.

Another tributary, the Cottoners River, carries rainwater from the west of the Reeks. On the southern side of the bridge, a low embankment runs upstream for about 1 km towards Killarney. This is part of over 40 km of embankments that prevent the sea from flooding low-lying land around Castlemaine Harbour. These embankments exist due to Napoleon’s dominance in Europe around the year 1808.

The British government were looking for alternative sources of hemp to make sailcloth for their navy to defend against a possible invasion. If the bogs of Ireland could be drained then they could be used to grow this raw material without impacting on the existing agricultural output of the country. In 1811-1812 Alexander Nimmo surveyed and mapped over 76,000 acres (30,700 ha) of land on the Iveragh Peninsula for the Bogs Commission. Over 17,000 acres (7,000 ha) of this were on the sea shore area of the Laune River, Lower River Maine and Castlemaine Harbour.

Now over 200 years later, these stone and earthen banks still prevent high tides flooding much of this land. The banks vary from 1m to over 5m in height. Sluice gates allow water drain out at low tide and prevent rising tides from flooding the land. The banks run from the townland of Tullig near Cromane, to Killorglin, part way up the Laune, around the area of Callinafercy, up both sides of the River Maine and along the north side of Castlemaine Harbour, part way to Inch. Various major repairs are evident where large rocks and concrete have replaced the stone and earth, however much of the original banks are still intact, a testimony to the skilled workers who built them.[3] The Killorglin river bank walk and the Astellas river bank walk downstream of the Iron Bridge are both part of these 200-year-old embankment.


Ballykissane 1916Edit

Located on Ballykissane Pier is a monument to commemorate the loss of life of six Volunteers. In 1916 their car plunged into the sea while they were on the way to Cahirciveen in order to set up radio communications with Sir Roger Casement and the German arms ship the Aud.

On Good Friday 21 April 1916, 6 men set off from Dublin by train to Killarney, Charlie Monaghan, Donal Sheehan, Con Keating, and Thomas McInerney. They were to travel by car to Cahirciveen in order to seize control of the wireless station on Valentia Island. Thomas McInerney drove the car carrying Con, Charlie, and Donal. Since Denis knew the route, the vehicle got lost just outside Killorglin. McInerney asked a young girl for directions to Cahirciveen. She told them to take the first turn on the right. Not knowing the road, Thomas mistook the turn which led to the quay. In the darkness he only realised his mistake when the two front wheels of the car went over the unprotected edge into the River Laune which is deep and wide at this point. It is said that in the moonlight, the reflection of the water resembled a continuance of the road. In the ensuing panic the car became unbalanced and fell into the river with its four passengers still on board. Totally disoriented Thomas McInerney started to swim heading in the wrong direction, only for the intervention of local man Thady O’Sullivan, who guided him back to the shore. At this stage it was clear that the three other occupants of the car had somehow become trapped in the vehicle and had sadly in all likelihood quickly drowned.[4]



Founded in 2013, K-FEST is a festival of culture and aims to nurture the growth of music and the arts to include galleries, live music, film, spoken word, children's workshops and to foster participation in the arts and artistic thought for all ages. It presents the work of artists in disused houses, shops and buildings in Killorglin town.[5]

Killorglin is home to the national Arts Prize The Screaming Pope Prize. The prize is named after a colloquial name for a Francis Bacon painting. It was founded in 2014 and runs in association with K-FEST. The Latvian Painter Girts Balodis won the prize in its inaugural year. Other winners include Lorraine McDonnell (2015), Tracey Sexton (2016), Niamh Porter (2017) and Sáerlaith Molloy (2018). [6]

Flavour of KillorglinEdit

Established in 2012, the Flavour of Killorglin seeks to celebrate the "culinary delights" of Killorglin and the surrounding area,[citation needed] combining great food with events and entertainment for food lovers, the local community and visitors.[tone] It runs in the middle of September each year. Local restaurants and food merchants display their produce in outdoor street stalls and a food trail allows the public to sample local produce including fish and shellfish, sausages, puddings, vegetables, honey, desserts and craft beers.[citation needed] Other events at the annual festival include canoeing and angling on the Laune to zumba and salsa on Library Place.[citation needed]

Biddy's DayEdit

The Biddy is honoured every year in the mid-Kerry region, with Biddy groups visiting rural and public houses. They carry a Brídeóg with them to ensure evil spirits are kept away for the coming year. The Biddy's origin is lost in time, but the modern celebration has a mixture of heritage borrowed from both Christianity (St Bridgid) and ancient Celtic traditions (Imbolg). Imbolg is one of the four Celtic festivals along with Lá Bealtaine, Lughnasa and Samhain. In 2017 a festival was launched to celebrate the existing Biddy tradition. The annual festival includes a torchlight parade of Biddys through Killorglin town and the King of the Biddy's contest. Traditionally, a visit from the Biddy guaranteed good luck, fertility, prosperity and to not receive a visit was considered a terrible sleight.[7] In 2019 the Mid Kerry Biddy was one of thirty unique practices of Irish "living cultural heritage" that was given official recognition by the state.[8]

St. Patrick's DayEdit

An annual St. Patrick's Day parade takes place on 17 March, and outdoor activities and music is arranged for free by community volunteers.



King Puck Statue

Killorglin is known for the large bronze King Puck statue on the edge of town as you cross the town bridge to enter Killorglin. The striking statue was commissioned by the Killorglin Millennium Committee and designed by Valentia Island Sculptor Alan Ryan Hall. The King Puck Statue and Puck Garden was completed in 2001 and official unveiled by Killorglin Lord Mayor Paudie Cronin and the Killorglin Millennium Committee.

In 2011, The Puck Poet plaques were added to the Puck Garden to show respect to just some of the colourful writers, poets and poems that have been written about Killorglin. The poets include Edso Crowley, Sigerson Clifford, Peter Joy and Johnny Patterson.

The town has a number of large murals by prominent street artists including Pawel Wrobelski, Lorraine McDonnell, Dan leo and Solus.[citation needed]


A number of books of local and national interest have been written about Killorglin and by Killorglin natives:

  • "Things My Mother Never Told Me" by Blake Morrison (Vintage 2003 ISBN 0-09-944072-5) tells the story of the author's mother who was from Killorglin who emigrated to England.
  • "Cast A Laune Shadow" released in the 1997 by local historian Patrick (Pa) Houlihan (1918-2010) explores the rich history of the town in story.
  • "Puck Fair" by Pa's eldest son Michael Houlihan, about the famed festival that takes place in the town each August.
  • "St. James and Fr.Tom" written and compiled by Terence Houlihan and Billy Browne explains the funding, construction and historical relevance of the large Catholic Church in the town centre, St. James's Church built by Fr. Tom Lawlor.
  • "The Civil War in Kerry" by local historian Tom Doyle. Details the part Kerry and Killorglin had to play in the Irish Civil War in the 1920s.
  • "The Man With No Libido" written by Jason Browne. Award-winning graphic novel released in 2011.
  • "Puck Poets" compiled and edited by Conor Browne. Released in 2015. A collection spanning three centuries of poetry, songs and images about and by Killorglin natives.
  • Máirín Cregan (27 March 1891 – 9 November 1975) was an Irish nationalist who was involved in the 1916 Easter Rising and Irish War of Independence. Cregan worked as a journalist for The Irish Press and The Sunday Press. Her first book for children was Old John and gained Cregan considerable international success and attention. Sean Eoin was also published in Irish, and was illustrated by Jack Butler Yeats. Her work was also aired on the BBC and RTÉ. Her play Rathina won the Downey Award in the US in 1943.


The father of Hollywood actor Ed Begley (1901–1970) was born in Laharn, Killorglin. The culmination of Begley's work was a Best Supporting Actor Academy Award for his role of Boss Finley in Tennessee Williams's Sweet Bird of Youth (1962).

The Academy Award for Best Live Action Short Film-nominated short film The Shoe, directed by Dublin filmmaker Nick Kelly, was shot on Killorglin's iconic Iron Bridge. The short film starred Irish actor Peter Coonan, best known for playing Fran in RTÉ One series Love/Hate (2010–2014).

The Academy Award for Best Animated Short Film-nominated the stop-motion film Head Over Heels (2012) which was produced by Cromane film maker Fodhla Cronin O'Reilly. Cronin O'Reilly attended secondary school in The Intermediate School Killorglin.

As of 2015, Áine Moriarty from Killorglin is head of IFTA (Irish Film and Television Awards).

Killorglin actor Muiris Crowley starred in the IFTA-winning film Pilgrim Hill (2013). Directed by fellow Kerryman Gerard Barrett.


Both Killorglin and Puck Fair feature in a number of traditional Irish ballads and songs, including Bridget Donohue written by Johnny Patterson, King Puck by Christy Moore, and Wildflower of the Laune by Peter Joy.

An annual pantomime is produced each January. It has been directed for the past 50 years by local actor Declan Mangan.[citation needed]

Killorglin host a number of live music venues, including the BarN, Bunkers Bar, Kingstons Beer Garden and Sol Y Sombra.[citation needed]

In January 2017, a video of patrons of Falveys Bar celebrating the life of Ger Foley went viral on social media site Reddit.[9][importance?]

Food and drinkEdit

Some of the town's restaurants and cafes serve traditional Irish cuisine or seafood and fish dishes sourced locally from the River Laune or nearby fishing village Cromane. There are also a number of national artisan food merchants that sell locally produced foods, including fresh fish, meats, fruit and vegetables, eggs and artisan cheeses and bread.[citation needed]


Gaelic FootballEdit

Laune Rangers is the local Gaelic Athletic Association club. Former All Ireland Club Football Champions beating Eire Óg in 1996. Managed by John Evans.


Killorglin Golf course situated just 3 km outside the town has an 18 hole parkland. Founded in 1992, the course was designed by Irish golf architect Eddie Hackett.[citation needed] the club were Jimmy Bruen All Ireland Champions 2013.[citation needed]


Killorglin Rugby Club[10] under 16 team won the West Munster Trophy in 2006 and went forward to compete in the final of the Munster Championship, which they lost. In 2008 the Under 18 squad won the West Munster Trophy against Tralee R.F.C.


Killorglin AFC has an association football club, [1]. Former player, Shane McLoughlin is with Ipswich Town F.C..[11] He has also played with the Republic of Ireland U15's and U16's. Shane went on to sign his first ever professional contract, also with Ipswich, after impressing at U-18 and U-21 level.[12]


Killorglin Rowing Club (KRC) was founded in the early 1990s, situated on the banks of the river Laune. The river being the venue for water based training when the tides are right. A new boat house was completed in 2004, and the facilities are used for land-based training when it is not possible to train on the river. KRC is affiliated to Rowing Ireland. Killorglin-trained rower Monika Dukarska represents Ireland in rowing in the Women's Double Scull category.

Cappanalea, Outdoor ActivitiesEdit

Killorglin is the home of Cappanalea Outdoor Education Centre, which is run under the auspices of Kerry Education Service since 1981. Activities include: kayaking, rock climbing, camping, canoeing, hill walking, orienteering, sailing, mountaineering, sea kayaking and abseiling.[citation needed]


Killorglin is only 15 mins car drive from the base of Carrauntoohil, Ireland's highest mountain and only 40 mins from Mount Brandon, Ireland's 2nd highest mountain.

Business and industryEdit

Employers in the area include the financial services and financial technology company FEXCO, which was founded and headquartered in Killorglin since 1981.

Pharmaceutical companies in the area include Astellas and Temmler. A 100m wind turbine was erected at the Astellas Plant on the Tralee Road in 2012 and has become a local landmark [13]

Killorglin Chamber Alliance was founded in 2015.


  • Dick Cheney, former Vice President of the United States. Cheney's grandmother on his mother's side was a woman called Deborah Naughton, who originally came from Raingue, Killorglin. She emigrated to Chicago around 1923 and married another Kerry native, Michael Clifford from Kells, in South Kerry.
  • Ed Begley, Actor, Academy Award Winner. His father Michael hailed from Laharn, a Killorglin townland.
  • Tom Barry, Irish revolutionary and author.
  • Máirín Cregan, writer of children's books, was born in Killorglin in 1891.
  • Mike-Frank Russell, Former Kerry GAA footballer and All-Star.
  • Liam Hassett, Former Kerry GAA footballer.
  • Reginald Green, first-class cricketer

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ a b "Census 2016 - Sapmap Area - Settlements -Killorglin". Census 2016. Central Statistics Office. April 2016. Retrieved 3 August 2019.
  2. ^ Statement by Thomas O'Donnell (MP), The Irish People, February 13. 1909, included in a report on Tower Model Village (County Cork)
  3. ^ "The County Bridge". Killorglin Tidy Towns. Retrieved 23 April 2018.
  4. ^
  5. ^ "kfest2015". kfest2015. Retrieved 2015-09-23.
  6. ^
  7. ^ "Home". Biddy's Day. Retrieved 23 April 2018.
  8. ^ "Mid-Kerry Biddy tradition gets official state recognition". The Kerryman. Independent News & Media. 27 July 2019. Retrieved 3 August 2019.
  9. ^ "reddit: the front page of the internet". Retrieved 23 April 2018.
  10. ^
  11. ^
  12. ^ "PRO DEALS FOR TOWN SIX - News - Ipswich Town". Retrieved 23 April 2018.
  13. ^ "100m wind turbine plan for Killorglin town -". Retrieved 23 April 2018.

External linksEdit