Waterville, County Kerry

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An Coireán
Waterville in November sunshine.jpg
Waterville in November sunshine
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Location in Ireland
Coordinates: 51°49′39″N10°10′20″W / 51.827583°N 10.172181°W / 51.827583; -10.172181 Coordinates: 51°49′39″N10°10′20″W / 51.827583°N 10.172181°W / 51.827583; -10.172181
Country Ireland
Province Munster
County County Kerry
 (2016) [1]
Time zone UTC+0 (WET)
  Summer (DST) UTC-1 (IST (WEST))
Irish Grid Reference V499659
Website www.visitwaterville.ie
Bronze statue of Charlie Chaplin Charlie Chaplin-waterville.jpg
Bronze statue of Charlie Chaplin

Waterville, historically known as Coirean [2] (Irish : An Coireán, meaning "little cauldron"), is a village in County Kerry, Ireland, on the Iveragh Peninsula. The town is sited on a narrow isthmus, with Lough Currane on the east side of the town, and Ballinskelligs Bay on the west, and the Currane River connecting the two.

Irish language Gaelic language spoken in Ireland and by Irish people

Irish is a Goidelic language of the Celtic languages family, itself a branch of the Indo-European language family. Irish originated in Ireland and was historically spoken by Irish people throughout Ireland. Irish is spoken as a first language in substantial areas of counties Galway, Kerry, Cork and Donegal, smaller areas of Waterford, Mayo and Meath, and a few other locations, and as a second language by a larger group of habitual but non-traditional speakers across the country.

County Kerry County in the Republic of Ireland

County Kerry is a county in Ireland. It is located in the South-West Region and forms part of the province of Munster. It is named after the Ciarraige who lived in part of the present county. The population of the county was 147,707 at the 2016 census.

Republic of Ireland Country in Europe on the island of Ireland

Ireland, also known as the Republic of Ireland, is a country in north-western Europe occupying 26 of 32 counties of the island of Ireland. The capital and largest city is Dublin, which is located on the eastern side of the island. Around a third of the country's population of 4.9 million people resides in the greater Dublin area. The sovereign state shares its only land border with Northern Ireland, a part of the United Kingdom. It is otherwise surrounded by the Atlantic Ocean, with the Celtic Sea to the south, St George's Channel to the south-east, and the Irish Sea to the east. It is a unitary, parliamentary republic. The legislature, the Oireachtas, consists of a lower house, Dáil Éireann, an upper house, Seanad Éireann, and an elected President who serves as the largely ceremonial head of state, but with some important powers and duties. The head of government is the Taoiseach, who is elected by the Dáil and appointed by the President; the Taoiseach in turn appoints other government ministers.


The town's name in Irish Coireán refers to the shape of Ballinskelligs Bay on which the town sits; the name, however, has been transplanted onto the lake with the Irish name being Loch Luíoch or Loch Luidheach.

The Butler family built a house at the mouth of the River Currane in the latter part of the 18th century. They named their house and estate Waterville. The village that developed on the estate during the first half of the 19th century was also named Waterville.

Butler family may refer to:

The N70 Ring of Kerry route passes through the town. As of the 2016 CSO census, Waterville had a population of 462. [1]

N70 road (Ireland) road in Ireland

The N70 road is a national secondary road in Ireland. It comprises most of the Ring of Kerry.

Ring of Kerry

The Ring of Kerry is a 179-kilometre-long (111-mile) circular tourist route in County Kerry, south-western Ireland. Clockwise from Killarney it follows the N71 to Kenmare, then the N70 around the Iveragh Peninsula to Killorglin – passing through Sneem, Waterville, Cahersiveen, and Glenbeigh – before returning to Killarney via the N72.

Roads in Ireland

The island of Ireland, comprising Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland, has an extensive network of tens of thousands of kilometres of public roads, usually surfaced. These roads have been developed and modernised over centuries, from trackways suitable only for walkers and horses, to surfaced roads including modern motorways. The major routes were established before Irish independence and consequently take little cognisance of the border other than a change of identification number and street furniture. Northern Ireland has had motorways since 1962, and has a well-developed network of primary, secondary and local routes. The Republic started work on its motorway network in the early 1980s; and historically, the road network there was once somewhat less well developed. However, the Celtic Tiger economic boom and an influx of European Union structural funding, saw national roads and regional roads in the Republic come up to international standard quite quickly. In the mid-1990s, for example, the Republic went from having only a few short sections of motorway to a network of motorways, dual carriageways and other improvements on most major routes as part of a National Development Plan. Road construction in Northern Ireland now tends to proceed at a slower pace than in the Republic, although a number of important bypasses and upgrades to dual carriageway have recently been completed or are about to begin.



Evidence of ancient settlemnt in the area include a megalithic tomb at Eightercua. This four-stone alignment (stone-row) is located 1.5 km south-south-east of the village. [3]

Eightercua stone tomb

Eightercua Irish: Íoċtar Ċua , meaning " "the place or holy place or harbor" that is Íoċ or "below" - the word is a specifically geographical term that does not adequately translate into English which does not designate a "place down below" with categorically geographical differentiation") is a four-stone alignment (stone-row) Megalithic tomb, located 1.5 km south-south-east of Waterville, County Kerry, Ireland. The tallest stone reaches 9 feet in height, and the alignment streaches for twenty five feet in an east-west direction. Surrounding artifacts, including remains of a possible tomb and an ancient enclosure, suggest that the site had a ritual purpose at one time. Eightercua is thought to originate from circa. 1700 BC, and by tradition is the burial place of Scéine, wife of the leader of the Milesian invaders, Amergin mac Míled.


The first successful transatlantic cable was finally laid after a number of attempts in 1865 by the Anglo American Telegraph Company between Heart's Content in Newfoundland and Labrador and Valentia Island near Waterville.

Transatlantic telegraph cable

A transatlantic telegraph cable is an undersea cable running under the Atlantic Ocean used for telegraph communications. The first was laid across the floor of the Atlantic from Telegraph Field, Foilhommerum Bay, Valentia Island in western Ireland to Heart's Content in eastern Newfoundland. The first communications occurred August 16, 1858, reducing the communication time between North America and Europe from ten days—the time it took to deliver a message by ship—to a matter of minutes. Transatlantic telegraph cables have been replaced by transatlantic telecommunications cables.

Hearts Content, Newfoundland and Labrador Town in Newfoundland and Labrador, Canada

Heart's Content is an incorporated town in Trinity Bay on the Bay de Verde Peninsula of Newfoundland and Labrador, Canada. The natural harbour that makes up the town is located on the east side of Trinity Bay and it is built along the northeast side and the southeast base of this harbour.

Valentia Island island in Ireland

Valentia Island is one of Ireland's most westerly points. It lies off the Iveragh Peninsula in the southwest of County Kerry. It is linked to the mainland by the Maurice O'Neill Memorial Bridge at Portmagee. A car ferry also departs from Reenard Point to Knightstown, the island's main settlement, from April to October. A second, smaller village named Chapeltown is located at roughly the midpoint of the island, 3 kilometres from the bridge. The permanent population of the island is 665. It is approximately 11 kilometres long by almost 3 kilometres wide.

Waterville's role in transatlantic communication came later when in the 1880s, the Mackay-Bennett Commercial Cable Company laid their first Transatlantic telegraph cable from the nearby townland of Spunkane to Hazel Hill, near Canso, Nova Scotia. The cable station brought much activity to Waterville and increased the town's size. Waterville served as the principal European hub for the Commercial Cable Company and as such played a very important role in transforming the accessibility and utilisation of cables as Commercial Cable Company was responsible for introducing competition into the market and lowering of prices.

Telegraph cables

On 13 July 1866, SS Great Eastern steamed westward from Valentia Island laying telegraph cable behind her. The successful landing at Heart's Content, Newfoundland on 27 July, established the first telegraph link between Europe and North America.

Later, additional cables were laid from Valentia Island and new stations opened at Ballinskelligs (1874) and Waterville (1884) making County Kerry a focal point for intercontinental communication. The Commercial Cable Company were able to lay cables from Waterville to Canso, Nova Scotia, with onward connections. Connections from Waterville to Weston-super-Mare in England and Le Havre in France were soon established. During the Civil War, the communication system between Paris and New York went down on 7 August 1922 when IRA irregulars seized Waterville. [4]

In July 2000, the cable stations received an International Milestone Heritage Site Award from the IEEE (Institute of Electronic and Electrical Engineers Inc USA) for their significance in the history of electrical science. The Kerry cable stations are recognised as World Heritage Communications Sites. [5]

Waterville's cable station history is outlined in an exhibition in the Tech Amergin centre, [6] and the remaining structures and locations feature in the Waterville Heritage Trail. [7]


Charlie Chaplin and his family first visited the town in 1959. They then returned to holiday in the town every year for over ten years. The community continued the connection to Chaplin by obtaining permission from the Charlie Chaplin estate to hold the inaugural Charlie Chaplin Comedy Film Festival in the spirit of Charlie Chaplin. The first festival was held in August 2011. [8]

The Tech Amergin adult education centre (named after Amergin Glúingel, a mythical explorer to the area) is used as a venue for events, shows and exhibitions, and vocational training. [9]

Waterville Golf Links Waterville Golf Links - 18th hole.jpg
Waterville Golf Links


Waterville Golf links has been voted the 5th best golf course in UK and Ireland.[ when? ] The newer Skellig's Bay Golf Club was listed as 67th in the same vote.[ citation needed ]

Waterville GAA is the local Gaelic Athletic Association club. The club's facilities have been rebuilt and include a gym.[ citation needed ]


Mick O'Dwyer statue Statue of Mick O'Dwyer in Waterville.jpg
Mick O'Dwyer statue

See also

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The Butler Arms Hotel

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Hearts Content Cable Station

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  1. 1 2 "Census 2016 Sapmap Area - Settlements - Waterville-Spunkane". Census 2016. Central Statistics Office. 2016. Retrieved 12 August 2019.
  2. "Placenames Database of Ireland". Logainm.ie. 13 December 2010. Retrieved 10 November 2011.
  3. "Eightercua Stone Row". megalithicireland.com. Retrieved 27 September 2019.
  4. "US Cable Cut". The Times . 8 August 1922.
  5. "Milestones:County Kerry Transatlantic Cable Stations, 1866 - Engineering and Technology History Wiki". ethw.org. Retrieved 27 September 2019.
  6. "Tech Amergin | Community Arts and Education Centre, On The Ring of Kerry, Waterville, Co. Kerry, Ireland" . Retrieved 27 September 2019.
  7. "Waterville Heritage Trail" (PDF). watervilleheritagetrail.com. IRD Waterville Limited. Archived from the original (PDF) on 2 May 2016.
  8. McNamara, Eimhin. "Charlie Chaplin Comedy Film Festival". Chaplinfilmfestival.com. Retrieved 10 November 2011.
  9. "Adult Education Centre, and events venue". Techamergin.com. Retrieved 10 November 2011.
  10. Samuel Carter Hall (1865). A Week at Killarney. p. 158. The stately hotel is "The Hartopp Arms;" the comfortable inn is "The Butler's Arms," kept by "honest Tom Denehy;" the traveller will have his choice