Ring of Kerry

Valentia Island | Irish : Beal Inse : The Mouth of the Rivers

This island has magnificent seascapes, tropical vegetation, breathtaking cliffs and scenic beauty. It is an excellent centre for sea angling and diving in unpolluted waters. Valentia Island is 11km long and 3km wide and is one of the most westerly points of Europe. Two prominent features of the island are Geokaun Mountain 268 metres in the North and Bray Head 180 metres on the South, both are fabulous vantage points for the sightseer. It is here that the Skellig Experience centre is located giving an insight into the Monastic Settlement, the Lighthouse, the bird and underwater life. On the North East of Valentia is Glanleam House surrounded by its extensive sub-tropical gardens. The Knight of Kerry created these gardens 150 years ago, and the grounds are famous for a unique collection of rare and tender southern hemisphere plants. Large woodlands extend to the sea and a tourist can enjoy the spectacular view of Valentia Harbour and the far off Kerry Mountains. There are plants from South America, Australia, Chile and Japan. Tea rooms are open daily from April-October.

The Skellig Experience – This is an exciting visitor project opened in April 1992 on Valentia Island. This venture gives a great insight into the life of the early Christian Irish Monks on the island monasteries off the West and South West Coast of Ireland. Eight miles off the Kerry coast lies the monastery of Skellig Michael, this being the highlight of the centre. History of the lighthouses and lightkeepers of Skellig Michael from 1820 to 1960, bird and plant life of Little Skellig and Skellig Michael are all included on a personal sound tour, in five languages.

Slate Quarry – It is now disused but in former years it provided the roof for many famous buildings including the British House of Parliament. Now it is converted into a religious grotto with a beautiful view over Glenleam, Dingle Bay, the Blasket Islands and Valentia Harbour.

Western Union Radio Station – The first telegraph cable, now superseded, came across the Atlantic Ocean from America to Valentia in 1858. The first transatlantic message arrived on the 28th July 1868. This cable is no longer used and the station near Knightstown was subsequently closed in 1966.

Bray Head Tower – Situated on Bray Head and the Foilhomurrum Cliffs, where the first Atlantic telegraph was made in 1866 is recommended for a visit.

Altazimuth – At Knightstown this instrument is situated and it was used to determine the longtitude of Valentia Islands in 1862. The Arc of Longtitude was measured from here to a point in the Ural Mountains in Russia. Observations were made by astronomers at both points and the Arc was measured by triangulation. The result of this measurement helped to determine the exact size of the Earth.

Leave a Reply