Saint Brendan the Navigator: Free Webinar on 12th May

Kerry County Museum’s Education Officer Claudia Kohler, who is a member of the St Brendan Heritage Committee, will deliver this free webinar on Wednesday 12th May at 11.30am. . The webinar has been programmed in partnership with the Education Centre Tralee and is suitable for primary school children of all ages. This will be 30 minutes presentation followed by a short fun quiz. Please register for the free webinar here: Link to event registration
Why is St Brendan important? St Brendan was born in Fenit, near Tralee around 500 AD. He founded a federation of monasteries in Ireland, but he is most famous for his legendary voyage across the North Atlantic in a simple wooden boat. Without the help of navigational instruments, he may have reached America 500 years before the Vikings and 1000 years before Christopher Columbus. His story seems to describe the sheep and seabirds of the Faeroe Islands, the volcanoes of Iceland, the icebergs of Greenland and the fog surrounding Newfoundland. His travel adventures were written down in monasteries all over Europe and soon became a major medieval bestseller. From growing up in Fenit to his famous travel adventures, this webinar is an introduction to the life and adventures of Kerry’s adventurous seafaring Saint whose feast day is annually commemorated on the 16th May.
By |May 10th, 2021|Categories: Uncategorized||

Keep Well Kerry: Enjoy a short virtual tour of Kerry County Museum

Have you got 15 minutes? While counting down the days until we open to the public on 24th May, why not enjoy a short virtual visit covering our five main exhibitions. From Casement in Kerry to the Medieval Experience, we hope you like this virtual preview brought to you by #Keep Well Kerry, an initiative by Kerry County Council. Simply click and enjoy!

By |May 10th, 2021|Categories: Uncategorized||

SÁSTA with Hazel – St.Patrick’s Day Special

Join museum facilitator Hazel and get crafty this weekend making a St. Patrick’s Day Leprechaun Mask. Follow the video below for all the items needed for this fun activity.


Follow this link to making a St. Patrick’s Day Leprechaun Mask



By |March 12th, 2021|Categories: Uncategorized||

Online resources to help with your research

We’ve put together a small list of resources to help you get started with your research projects at home.  If you have any questions please email us  –

Kerry County Museum –

Kerry Library Local History Section ––archives.html

Census of Ireland –

Historic Map Viewer –

GeoHive map viewer –

Heritage Maps – 

Ogham Stones –

Newspaper archive –

Irish Architecture –

Buildings of Ireland –

Griffith’s Valuation –

Articles and Journals –

Articles and Journals –

Military Archives –

Military Service Pension Collection –

Google Earth –

Bing Aerial Maps – 

Record of Monuments andPlaces  (County Kerry) – Mannual  &  6” Maps Index 



By |February 24th, 2021|Categories: Uncategorized||

Researching Kerry’s History and Heritage Online – Watch our Expert Tutorials to get you started

Kerry County Museum has created six introductory tutorials to help you with your local history research. These short videos feature local heritage experts describing in plain language how to research different aspects of Kerry’s history, archaeology and built heritage. Special emphasis is put on the use and availability of sources and how to access information online. Whether you are a local history enthusiast or a secondary school student working on a local history project, our video tutorials are an excellent starting point for researching Kerry’s past. All six tutorials and other online resources can be found here:




By |January 30th, 2021|Categories: Uncategorized||

Christmas Arrangements

Dear visitors, in accordance with government guidelines, Kerry County Museum will remain closed until 12th January 2021 when restrictions will be reviewed. We would like to take the opportunity to wish you a very Happy Christmas. If you have any queries, please send an email to and we will reply to you after our return to the office in January.

By |December 23rd, 2020|Categories: Uncategorized||

Watch “Tales from the Festive Hall” and a special message from Santa

Kerry County Museum proudly presents “Tales from the Festive Hall” as part of Kerry County Council’s Keep Well Campaign. Listen to a heart-warming tale about a little Kerry kid goat with a big dream of joining Santa’s reindeer troupe. The story is read by Santa’s trusty helper Esmerelda McElligott from the Festive Hall deep within the Ashe Memorial Hall in Tralee, Santa’s headquarters in Kerry. Will the little kid goat triumph over adversity to join Santa and his reindeer on Christmas Eve? Follow the story to find out and see Santa appear at the end with a special message for all the children in Kerry:

We would like to wish you a very Happy Christmas and we look forward to seeing you all again in the New Year. Stay Safe!

By |December 18th, 2020|Categories: Uncategorized|Tags: |

In the Vale of Tralee – The Archaeology of the N22 Tralee Bypass

In the Vale of Tralee Transport Infrastructure Ireland (TII) and Kerry County Council are delighted to announce the publication of In the Vale of Tralee – the archaeology of the N22 Tralee Bypass. The book describes the remarkable discoveries that were made along the route of the bypass by archaeologists from Rubicon Heritage Services and Irish Archaeological Consultancy in 2010 and 2011. The construction of the bypass provided a rare opportunity to explore the rich heritage of North Kerry through large-scale archaeological investigation, with the excavations revealing evidence of over 6,000 years of human life in the Tralee hinterland, from early prehistory to modern times. Among the discoveries were the remains of a building in Manor East erected by some of the first farmers to settle in the River Lee Valley, as well as circular houses of the Bronze Age in Ballingowan, Knockawaddra Middle and Ballynabrennagh, and Iron Age cremation burials in Manor East and Ballinorig West. Of particular note was the monumental avenue of timber posts uncovered in Ballingowan which may have been the site of sacred ceremonial processions during the Late Neolithic/Early Bronze Age. Another highlight was the discovery of a previously unknown bivallate (double ditched) ringfort in Ballinorig West. This was probably the defended homestead of a wealthy farmer or local lord during the early medieval period. Glimpses of Tralee’s more recent past were revealed by the excavation of the brick-making sites and limekilns uncovered on the project, while the abandoned cottages uncovered in Lismore attest to the devasting impact of the Famine in North Kerry.


Praise for the In the Vale of Tralee Jimmy Deenihan, former Minister for Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht and current President of the Kerry Archaeological and Historical Society: The archaeological excavations on the Tralee Bypass revealed fascinating new insights about the lives of previous generations of people who lived in North Kerry. Examination of the objects they left behind and the remnants of their homes, farms and burial places has enabled the archaeologists to fill out the stories of our past. The wealth of new information presented in this beautifully illustrated volume will also help shape and inform future research on the archaeology of Tralee and its hinterland for many years to come. Councillor Terry O’Brien, Mayor of Tralee: We’ve always been very proud of our heritage in Tralee. Our churches, castles and placenames provide a strong connection to our medieval past and contribute to the pride we feel for our town. Our more ancient heritage has also played its part in this, inspiring many of the artworks in the Garden of the Senses in the town park. While the bypass has improved our quality of life by reducing congestion and facilitating economic development, a perhaps unexpected benefit is the greater understanding of our past gathered from the archaeological investigations carried out in advance of construction. I greatly welcome the publication of this book, which presents this new knowledge in an accessible and attractive way that can be enjoyed by all. Print and digital versions In the Vale of Tralee is the 9th book in a TII Heritage series dedicated to communicating the history and archaeology uncovered on national road schemes and the landscapes they traverse. It is available through local bookshops and can be ordered online from Wordwell ( A Kindle version can be purchased on Amazon. It can be also viewed on the TII website ( Complimentary free audiobook Readers will also enjoy the complementary audiobook, produced for TII by Abarta Heritage, which uses voice actors to re-imagine a selection of stories based on archaeological evidence in the book. The audiobook is free to stream or download and is available as a podcast on Spotify, Apple Podcasts and similar platforms (



About the Editors, Patricia Long is a Managing Director at Rubicon Heritage Services Ltd. and was Senior Archaeologist for the N22 Tralee Bypass project. Isabel Bennett is an archaeologist living and working on the Dingle Peninsula. Isabel is editor of and was editor of the Journal of the Kerry Archaeological and Historical Society for over 20 years. Paul O’Keeffe is an archaeologist with Transport Infrastructure Ireland and was Project Archaeologist for the N22 Tralee Bypass project. Publication details Title In the Vale of Tralee. The archaeology of the N22 Tralee Bypass Editors Patricia Long, Paul O’Keeffe and Isabel Bennett TII Heritage No. 9 (October 2020) Publisher Transport Infrastructure Ireland (TII), Dublin Content Archaeological investigation results, analyses and interpretations; 210 pages with full-colour plates and line drawings; bibliography, scientific appendix and index ISBN 978-1-911633-19-8 ISSN 2009-8480 Price €25 Distributor Distributed for TII by Wordwell (

By |December 14th, 2020|Categories: Uncategorized||

#LoveTheatreDay -The Story of the Ashe Memorial Hall

Today the 18th of November marks #LoveTheatreDay a day when cultural institutions come together to celebrate theatres all over the globe. We would like to mark the occasion by telling you the story of the Ashe Memorial Hall.

The Ashe Memorial Hall was built in the 1920s as the seat of local government, one of the first, and one of the very few, new public buildings erected in the country after the foundation of the state. The money to build it came from the British government, compensation for the destruction of the old County Hall by the Black and Tans during the War of Independence. But rather than rebuilding on the original site, the local authority chose to locate the new building in the demesne of the Denny estate, landlords of the town since the Elizabethan plantation of the 16th century. This was a deliberate statement in stone of the transfer of power to the new, independent, Ireland.

Initially referred to as the County Hall, it was proposed to name the building the O’Connell Hall in memory of Daniel O’Connell. This proposal was defeated, however, and it was instead named after Thomas Ashe because, as the Chairman of Kerry County Council remarked, it was men like Ashe who had made the Hall possible.

A theatre/dancehall/cinema was integral to the plans, and it was designed to occupy the central well of the building, with the offices around the perimeter. The hall was the first part of the building to open in May 1928. The official opening of the theatre was performed by the Dean, Monsignor O’Leary, who was in no doubt about the historic significance of the occasion:

“Today, the County Council was elected by the people and through them, the people are rulers of their own destinies”.

The hall was launched with an “Irish-Ireland Concert” a mixture of parlour songs, Irish ballads, Irish dancing, and a comedy routine. The evening finished with a performance by Gerald Crofts who was a poet and a singer, described in his prime as ‘a blue-eyed fair-haired Orpheus’. He had a fine tenor voice and was a favourite performer in patriotic concerts. His brother Joseph was a composer, pianist and arranger; he and Peadar Kearney both served in Dublin in Easter Week. His personal friends included Sean Mac Diarmada and Eamonn Ceannt among the executed leaders, and also Countess Markiewicz.

His performance that night included ‘Caoine Donncadha Bhain’, ‘Boolavogue’, ‘Thank You Ma’am Said Dan’ and other favourites. His finale was a rendition of Ashe’s poem ‘Let Me Carry Your Cross for Ireland Lord’, which he said he had heard first from Ashe himself while both were in Dartmoor Jail in 1916. The newspapers reported that “this declaration was greeted with tumultuous applause”.

With this rousing launch, the hall was well and truly on its way. Performances, films and dances continued for the next fifty years. In the 1980s the building underwent significant refurbishment and the hall was closed. Kerry County Museum now occupies the space in the central well of the building.

If you would like to share any memories, stories or photos of the Ashe Memorial Theater, please email

125399960_784865702070853_5877860631410308386_n 125425046_1501682196887262_5508869980664403857_n 125474137_712957915997687_1806837694717891999_n 125416923_293618581861591_928744580239651696_n


By |November 17th, 2020|Categories: Uncategorized|Tags: , , , , , , , |

Science Week 2020: Killaclohane archaeology lectures now online

It’s Science Week Ireland!
Join us for a  mini-lecture series celebrating archaeological science. Listen to Archaeologist from Ireland and the USA discusses using 21st-century science to reveal the Neolithic secrets of Killaclohane Portal Tomb.

The Tomb in the Lab reveals the secrets of Killaclohane Portal Tomb, which dates back 6,000 years, to students as part of Science Week, which runs until November 19. ‘The Tomb in the Lab’ is a series of discussions, demonstrations, and displays based on the site, Kerry’s oldest- known man-made structure, dating back to around 3800 BC.

The Neolithic tomb underwent a major excavation and restoration programme in 2015 and the artefacts found, including human bone, pottery fragments, and flint tools, have been the subject of intensive scientific scrutiny.

Lecture 1 – Dr Michael Connolly  click here

Lecture 2 – Dr Linda Lynch click here 

Lecture 3- Dr Kendra Sirak click here



connolly 2017 linda lynch 2017 kendra 2017

By |November 9th, 2020|Categories: Uncategorized||

Pin It on Pinterest