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|Tags: |

#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|Tags: |

Online Kerry Secondary Schools Initiative: The Kerry Young Historian Award

Kerry Archaeological and Historical Society and Kerry County Museum are delighted to announce a new online Education and Outreach project aimed at young people interested in history, archaeology and heritage. The Kerry Young Historian Award is an annual online initiative open to all Kerry secondary schools and all young people aged 12 to 19.

The purpose of the award is to encourage participants to research, write and present on a local history topic in a personal, interesting and critical way with a special focus on some of Kerry’s untold stories. The award aims to encourage and produce the historians of the future as well as engaging young people in local history, archaeology and heritage.

This collaborative initiative of Kerry Archaeological & Historical Society, Kerry County Council and Kerry County Museum is supported by The Education Centre Tralee and the History Teachers’ Association of Ireland, Kerry branch.

Kerry Secondary Schools are asked to submit an expression of interest by Friday 6th November 2020 at the latest, earlier submissions welcome.

Project Support:

Once we have received expressions of interest, we will supply an Internal Heat Support Pack with helpful hints for teachers and students, best practice guidelines, logos, example and Kerry Young Historian certificates. If your school would like to participate, please submit an expression of interest (see form below) by contacting K.A.H.S. Education Officers Victoria McCarthy and Claudia Köhler at

Internal School Heat:

Each participating school will need to hold an Internal School Heat to select a student speaker to represent your school. The Internal School Heat should take place between January and March 2021. We are looking for a PowerPoint presentation between 10-15 minutes long which students use to present their research. One speaker from each school who participated in the Internal School Heat can be entered for the Kerry Young Historian Award Final. Please note that the name of the speaker, the title of their talk and PowerPoint presentation will be required by Friday 26 March 2021, earlier nominations are welcome.

The Kerry Young Historian Award Final:

The chosen speaker from each school will be invited to attend the online Kerry Young Historian Award Final. The Final event will take place via Zoom at the end of April 2021. The winner of the Young Kerry Historian Award will receive a prize and a trophy for their school.


The benefits of participating in the Kerry Young Historian Award include developing effective public speaking and presentation skills, research and interpretation skills, knowledge and confidence, critical analysis and original thought. Students can also use their research towards CBA:1 The Past in My Place local history projects. Students awarded first, second and third prize will be given the opportunity to present their research and publish their findings. Participants can include the award on university applications and references.


Expressions of Interest: The Kerry Young Historian Award 2021 

School name:

School Address:


School phone number:

School website:


Name of Principal:

Name of designated History Teacher:

Email of designated History Teacher:

Mobile number of designated History Teacher:


Preferred way of being contacted about the project:

⃝     Email         ⃝      School phone number    ⃝     Mobile number


GDPR: Please note that new data protection legislation provides for additional requirements in relation to retention of personal data. Currently, your contact information in form of a digital expression of interest form will be retained by project managers Claudia Köhler (Kerry County Museum) and Victoria McCarthy (Kerry County Council) until the project is completed. We will never share your personal data externally or maintain an electronic database.


Do you have any comments, queries or suggestions for us at this stage? Please let us know:



By |October 21st, 2020|Categories: Uncategorized|Tags: |

Online Kerry Primary Schools Competition: Explore Your Local Heritage

The Explore Your Local Heritage Competition is a creative collaboration of the Kerry Archaeological & Historical Society and Kerry County Museum and kindly supported by The Education Centre Tralee and Kerry County Council. The online competition invites all primary schools in Kerry to explore your local heritage and share their discoveries.

We are calling on all pupils and teachers to take their school building as the focal point and research the hidden history and heritage of the immediate locality. The project can be about any aspect of local heritage that interests you, from the history of an old building or ruin to local folk tales and stories. Ideally, each school will include examples of the built, natural and cultural heritage.

The project will culminate in an online exhibition featuring all entries. A panel of adjudicators will judge the competition entries and 1st, 2nd and 3rd prize winners will receive a voucher for a complementary visit to Kerry County Museum as well as a prize for the school.

If you are interested in participating, please submit an expression of interest (see form below) by sending the completed form to by Friday 6th November 2020 at the latest, earlier submissions are more than welcome.


Project support:

Once we have received expressions of interest, we will send participating schools an information pack and we will hold an information session to discuss the project in detail. We will be available throughout the project duration to answer questions and for general guidance.

Project categories:

Your project can include pupils’ creative writing, drawings, paintings, photographs, arts & crafts, drama, music and LEGO projects as well as old photographs, letters, medals, newspaper clippings, oral history recordings and other artefacts and memorabilia that could help to document and illustrate your local heritage. Each school can either enter a joint school project representing as many pupils of the school as possible [especially in the case of smaller schools] or two separate projects from pupils aged 4-7 and 8-12 years.

Competition rules:

  • Each entry must be the original, creative work of the entering school
  • While Covid 19 restriction are in place, each entry must be submitted online via PDF (and mp3/mp4 file if oral history or music/drama is included)
  • Judging will be based on three criteria: Depth of exploration of local heritage, interpretation of themes and artistic merits
  • The theme of the competition is on local heritage with your school as focal point. Each project entry should be accompanied by
  • Name and address of the school
  • Contact name and number of a designated teacher
  • Number and ages of involved pupils
  • A descriptive paragraph detailing different aspects of the project, why it was chosen and what special meaning it may have

Closing date: The closing date for project submissions is Friday 2nd April 2021 at the latest, earlier submissions are more than welcome.



Expressions of Interest: Explore your Local Heritage Competition 

School name:

School Address:


School phone number:

School website:


Name of Principal:

Name of designated project contact:

Position of designated project contact:

Email of designated project contact:

Mobile phone number of designated project contact:


Preferred way of being contacted about the project:

     Email                     ⃝     School phone number    ⃝     Mobile number


Do you already know if multiple classes will participate?

⃝     Yes                         ⃝     No                          ⃝    To be decided at a later stage


If Yes, what class(es) will participate:


GDPR: Please note that new data protection legislation provides for additional requirements in relation to retention of personal data. Currently, your contact information in form of a digital expression of interest form will be retained by project managers Claudia Köhler (Kerry County Museum) and Victoria McCarthy (Kerry County Council) until the project is completed. We will never share your personal data externally or maintain an electronic database.


By |October 21st, 2020|Categories: Uncategorized|Tags: |

Kerry County Museum closed until further notice

Dear visitors, Kerry County Museum will be closed from Wednesday 7th October 2020 until further notice as directed by government guidelines. However, we are working behind closed doors and continue to create exciting events and exhibitions for when we open again. Meanwhile, why not check out our extensive online resources or contact us if you have any questions at 0667127777 or email

By |October 7th, 2020|Categories: Uncategorized|Tags: |

Culture Night 18 September: Online Trad session with Sliabh Mish Comhaltas

Did you know that Kerry County Museum, Siamsa Tire and Samhlaiocht brought Culture Night to Kerry in 2009? Kerry’s first Culture Night “Dancing in the Street” brought more than 5000 people together on Denny Street to break the World Record for street dancing. For the past 11 years the Museum has hosted a wide range of cultural events in the Ashe Memorial Hall and we were delighted to welcome hundreds of visitors for our “Night at the Museum”.  This year, Culture Night is taking place on Friday 18 September and the Museum is celebrating the evening with an online trad session with Sliabh Mish Comhaltas. Enjoy a collage of short sessions from previous years from the talented young musicians who have been performing at the Museum every year since 2012. For other Culture Night events in Kerry have a look at: culture night kerry events

By |September 14th, 2020|Categories: Uncategorized|Tags: |

Gowns of Glory

Kerry County Museum in Tralee is hosting the exhibition which charts the changing styles over the decades and it’s an absolute must for anyone with an interest in fashion. The exhibition includes 30 dresses over six decades, from Alice O’Sullivan’s gown in 1959 to the present.

By |August 20th, 2020|Categories: Uncategorized|Tags: |

From Milltown’s First Farmers to Landed Gentry: the archaeology of the N70 Kilderry Bends Road Improvement Scheme in County Kerry

Between September 2017 and May 2018, along a mere 2 km length of the N70 road realignment on the outskirts of Milltown, Co. Kerry, archaeologists uncovered evidence of human activity spanning 5,600 years. This included a Neolithic flint arrowhead and stone bead, a Bronze Age fulacht fia, and the remains of a 19th-century cottage. Most significant perhaps was the part excavation of a trivallate ringfort, known as Lissaniska, which is one of the few sites in ireland to have yielded direct evidence of early medieval flax processing. These discoveries are presented in this multimedia Story Map produced by Archaeological Consultancy Services Unit Ltd on behalf of Kerry County Council and Transport Infrastructure Ireland.


Click here for story map  


Click here for video 

By |August 20th, 2020|Categories: Uncategorized|Tags: |

Pin It on Pinterest