North Kerry

Lixnaw | Irish : Leac Snamha : Swimming Flagstone

Lixnaw in the 11th century was the seat of the Fitzmaurice family, the Earls of Kerry.  Nicolas, the 3rd Baron of Lixnaw in 1320 built a castle there and made vast improvements to the village and built the Old Bridge. However in 1600 Sir Chas Wilmot with his forces took the castle and made it their operational headquarters.  The then Lord Kerry re-took it and gave his brother Geral the responsibility of defending the castle.  However he was eventually forced to surrender due to a lack of water.  Today there are no remains of the castle left.  Lord Lansdowne, who was born in Dublin, was one of the Earls of Kerry’s descendants.  He attended Eton in England but spent most of his summer holidays in Lixnaw.  In 1782 he became the British Prime Minister.  There is a road in Dublin named Lansdowne Road after him.  This road in turn gave its name to the famous rugby stadium in Dublin.

River Brick is near Lixnaw and it originally had 2 stone bridges which gave the village its name.

There is a well in the village named St. Micheal’s Holy Well which has curative properties, especially of the eye.  A statue of St. Michale defeating Satan can be seen at the well.  The pattern day is the 29th September.  Pattern is a word derived from the English word Patron or the Irish Patrun.  In centuries past most Irish parishes had a patron saint.  The parishioners celebrated Pattern Day on the Saint’s feast day.

It is claimed that there is approximately 3,000 holy wells in Ireland, which is more than any in any other country.  Once a pagan sacrifice may have taken place at the well but now a cripple might bathe in them hoping for a cure or a bride might look into the waters for god luck.  In Irish folklore the Otherworld is the source of wells and springs.  The Otherworld is a parallel dimension whose citizens have the power to control the natural forces of this world.  The water that fills our springs and rivers aka the Shannon and the Boyne is said to originate in the Otherworld.  Sionann and Boann are the goddesses associated with the flow of water.  Trees like the hazelnut also have an association with water.  It is thought that drinking Holy Well water or immersing oneself would bestow the Otherworld powers on the user.  Salmon were accredited with wisdom and were reputedly said to swim in wells therefore giving wisdom and healing and poetic inspiration to the individual.

A Korean War Memorial honouring the 29 Irish men who served in that war has been erected in Lixnaw.

In 1880 on the 20th December the Lixnaw railway first opened, it closed for passengers on 4th February 1963 and on the 2nd December it closed for goods traffic.  It was on the 11th June 1983 it closed for good.

Ceolann in the village is a centre, which incorporates a theatre, music shop and a museum/library.

Festivals:-  there is a traditional music festival in mid February and another one in mid June.

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