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My "Best of Ireland" Tour Journal

Chapter 2: Ennis to Killarney

Limerick is the 4th largest city in Ireland with a population of around 70,000 people. In 1197 the city received its Charter from Prince John. When Prince John arrived, the English drove the Irish outside the walls of the Castle.

James II was not the most popular person in England. His 1st marriage produced two daughters: Mary, who married William of Orange, and Anne. The daughters were raised Protestants. His 2nd marriage produced a son who was raised Catholic. In 1690 at the Battle of the Boyne, William of Orange defeated his father-in-law. James' army retreated to Limerick. William followed and massacred the women and children of Limerick (Seige of Limerick in 1692). From this point Limerick has been known as the "City of the violated Treaty".

One of the things that Limerick is known for is the development of a 5-line form of poetry, usually a little raunchy, that was subsequently named after the town. A couple of examples of "clean" Limericks are:

There once was a lady from Clyde
Who ate so many apples she died
The apples fermented
Inside the lamented
And made cider insider her insides.


There once was a Monk from Siberia
Whose morals were rather inferior
He did to a Nun
What shouldn't be done
And now she's a Mother Superior.

This one was added to the comment cards at the Guinness Factory tour by the family of Bruce and Marilyn Driscoll, written by Bruce:

There once was a small group of five
From Canada came, half alive
With a Guinness they sat
And in two minutes flat
Had their spirits completely revived!

The Earl of Dunraven was the landlord. His family name was formerly Quinn. The 3rd Earl of Dunraven built a manor house in 1832 which is now a hotel. He laid out the village for his tenants. There is a ruin of a Desmond (family name Fitzgerald) castle found here. There is also a ruin of a Franciscan friary found here. It was left alone by Cromwell's armies because he liked the architecture of it. It has since fallen into ruin.
There are two major industries here: wiring for electrical components and computer software
1746 saw the formation of the Wide Street Committee to pass by-laws about the streets.

Kerry Blue dogs were first bred here for the purpose of hunting badgers.

The McGillicuddy Mountains are found here. Also 3 lakes. The upper lake is the smallest. The middle lake is Muckross Lake.

In 1861 a visit by Queen Victoria spurred visits by journalists and writers. Tourism is still a large part of the economy. At Aghadoe, a monastic settlement was founded by St. Arna. The ruins are still there. Aghadoe means "near God". Killarney / Cill Airne /: "Kil" or "kill" or "Cil" means "little church", "airne" is the Gaelic word for sloes which is the fruit of the Blackthorn tree, hence "Killarney" means THE CHURCH OF THE SLOES.

A large cathedral was started here before the famine. Daniel O'Connell and the Earl of Conmere funded it and it was designed by a Mr. Pugeon. It was used as a workhouse during the famine and was finished afterwards.

There is a lot of German investment in the area of the Kenmare Estates. It was started by a Mr. Liebherr who wanted to get planning permission to build a hotel on the lake. He could not get permission without promising more long-term investment in the area. He brought the Liebherr Crane Factory to the area. It started with 750 employees. It currently employs around 500.

Killarney is one large National Park. The Kenmare Estates and Muckross Estates were joined to form the town. The Kenmare Estates all belonged to the McCarthy's. Queen Elizabeth I took their lands from them and gave them to a friend, a Mr. Brown. She appointed him the Earl of Kenmare. The last Earl of Kenmare died around 1950 with 27,000 acres of the original 80,000 still in his possession. He bequeathed the property to a niece, Lady Grosvenor. Later, she left the whole estate to the Government of Ireland. It was then joined with Muckross Estate to form the large National Park.

Muckross Estate was laid out by the Herberts, a Norman family. One of their daughters married a McCarthy who owned the property at that time. Muckross means "Peat Point". When the Muckross Estate was given to the government, one of the conditions was that only traditional forms of transportation would ever be used around the lake. Hence the many jaunting carts driven by "Jarvies" that are found there.

The arbutus or "strawberry tree" grows in Killarney but nowhere else in Ireland.

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