10 facts about Kerry you probably didn’t know

Kerry is one of the most popular counties to visit in Ireland, but there are likely some facts about Kerry that you don’t know. Here are our top 10.

10 facts about Kerry you probably didn't know

Kerry is a popular Irish county for good reason: It’s full of mystery, charm and historic sites to see and enjoy. As the kingdom is so full of mystery, there are many fascinating and interesting facts about Kerry that will both shock and intrigue you—from being the birthplace of important figures and brave explorers to being the home of many important historical sites.

In this article, we will list what we believe to be the 10 biggest facts about Kerry you probably didn’t know.

10. Kerry is called “The Kingdom”

Facts about Kerry include that it's called The Kingdom

A common phrase that is said in Kerry is: “There are only two kingdoms, the Kingdom of God and the Kingdom of Kerry.” Kerry has been referred to by the nickname “The Kingdom” for over almost 2000 years, with the first instance said to have dated back to 65 AD.

9. The Kerry crest motto is “Cooperation, Help, and Friendship”

Facts about Kerry include the meaning of its crest motto

The Kerry crest motto is “Comhar, Cabhair, Cairdeas,” which translates to “Cooperation, Help, and Friendship.” The blue and white mountains in the centre of the Kerry crest symbolize the Kerry mountains, which are the highest in Ireland.

The crown at the top of the crest stands for the Ciarraige who were a pre-Gaelic people who gave their name to the county. The crosses which are on both sides of the crest represent the ancient monasteries of Aghadoe and Ardfert.

Finally, the boat on the crest is the boat of St. Brendan the Navigator who according to legend was said to have discovered America.

8. Daniel O’Connell was born in Kerry

Facts about Kerry include that it was the birthplace of Daniel O'Connell
The Daniel O’Connell statue in Limerick

The famous Irish political leader Daniel O’Connell was born on August 6th 1775 near Cahersiveen in County Kerry and is known in Irish history as ‘The Liberator’ due to his political involvement in the progression of Catholic emancipation.

The Kerryman gained huge achievements such as setting up the Catholic Association in 1823 and also becoming the first Catholic Lord Mayor of Dublin since the rule of King James II.

7. Ireland’s highest mountain and mountain pass is in Kerry

Facts about Kerry include that it is home to Ireland's highest mountain
Credit: @liv.blakely / Instagram

The highest mountain and mountain pass can be found in Kerry and is known as Carrauntoohil which is located in the MacGillycuddy Reeks range. Carrauntoohil is Ireland’s highest mountain, which stands at 3,409 feet.

6. Ireland’s oldest thatched cottage can be found in Kerry

Facts about Kerry include that it is home to Ireland's oldest thatched cottage

If you are looking to find the oldest thatched house in Ireland then look no further than Sheehan’s Thatched House at Finuge Cross near Listowel in County Kerry, which was built over 300 years ago. The thatched house is the oldest standing thatched house in Ireland. 

5. Charlie Chaplin loved Kerry

Facts about Kerry include that it was beloved by Charlie Chaplin

Charlie Chaplin was a famous silent film star who through his experiences of travelling in Ireland came to find a home away from home in Waterville, County Kerry. Waterville has marked Chaplin’s love affair with it by erecting a statue of Chaplin in Waterville which overlooks Ballinaskelligs Bay and every summer Waterville hosts the Charlie Chaplin Comedy Film Festival in his honour.

4. One of the greatest ever Antarctic explorers, Tom Crean, was from County Kerry

Tom Crean was from County Kerry

Tom Crean was a renowned seaman and Antarctic explorer who was born in Annascaul in County Kerry. He became famous for his role in the Discovery and Terra Nova expeditions which were led by Captain Robert Falcon Scott to the South Pole and also as a member of Ernest Shackleton’s mission on board the ship Endurance.

After his adventures, he settled down in Annascaul where he set up and ran a pub called The South Pole Inn which can still be visited today!

3. The first transatlantic telegraph cable travelled from Kerry to North America

The first transatlantic telegraph cable travelled from Kerry to North America

Valentia island in Kerry was the Eastern terminus of the first commercially viable transatlantic telegraph cable which stretched from Valentia Island to Newfoundland in 1866. This transatlantic cable operated in Valentia island for one hundred years.

2. Ireland’s oldest traditional fair is held in Kerry

The Puck Fair is held annually

The Puck Fair, which is Ireland’s oldest traditional festival, is over 400 years old and is held every year in the Kerry town of Killorglin. The Puck Fair is famous for being the only festival in the world where a wild mountain goat is crowned the king.

1. Kerry is home to the world’s oldest footprints

The world's oldest footprints are supposedly on Valentia Island
Credit: Fiona K / TripAdvisor

Valentia Island in Kerry can also proudly claim to be the location of the world’s oldest footprints which are believed to have belonged to a large amphibian who once walked there over 385 million years ago.

If there are any other facts about the kingdom county that we may have missed, make sure to let us know!

Conor Wickham
Conor Wickham is a writer from County Wexford with a keen interest in discovering everything Ireland has to offer. From sleeping in tree houses in the Ox Mountains to staying in shepherd huts in Donegal, Conor has experienced it. With a degree in Marketing & Advertising with Online Media, Conor has used his love of writing to guide his career path and has worked as a Website Content Writer/SEO Specialist in the past. When not exploring Ireland and finding out its secrets, Conor can usually be found hiking or working on his long awaited (long awaited by him at least!) supernatural thriller novel series.