Ring of Kerry Stops


Ring of Kerry Stops – Cahersiveen Heritage Centre

If you are looking for Ring of Kerry Stops with a difference, then look no further.  Most people just drive by without really discovering the story behind the scenery.   The Old R.I.C. Barracks at Bridge Street in Cahersiveen has something for everyone.

Where is it?

If you are travelling the ‘Ring of Kerry’ anti-clockwise, take the first turn right before the Church.  Continue about a hundred metres, the building will be on your right.   The barracks is on a little hill overlooking the river Fertha and is enclosed by a stone wall.

Why was it built?

This old barracks was built between 1870-1875 to protect the telegraph cable station on nearby Valentia Island.    The British felt it was needed to maintain law and order in this area of strong republicanism.  The Royal Irish Constabulary (R.I.C.) was the police force in Ireland until 1922. This was an important barracks until it got burned down in 1922 during the Civil War.

Scotts Baronial style

The architect was British born Enoch Trevor Owen.  This is the style of architecture that was used to build medieval castles and towers.  The uneven roofline, the high walls, the crow-stepped gables, turrets & bartizans are all common features.    It’s very different to all the other buildings in the area and locals say that the plans were mixed up with plans for a building in India.  They tell that same fib in other towns with R.I.C. barracks in Ireland also.

ACARD ( A Cahersiveen Area Resource Development )

This community development group was formed to redevelop the town which had seen a lot of emigration since the 1840s.  One of their projects was the restoration of this building which began in 1991 and the new Heritage Centre here opened in 1996.  It is a real gem and has various exhibits about different aspects of history associated with the Ring of Kerry .

Exhibits on Ring of Kerry History

Exhibits tell the life stories of Daniel O’Connell who was born nearby and Monsignor Hugh O’Flaherty who is buried in the nearby Church cemetery.  Others tell the stories of the Great Southern Railway, the 1916 Rising and Fenianism.  Here we can learn from and enjoy the stories of our forefathers.  It represents our unique Ring of Kerry Heritage.

Other Ring of Kerry Stops Nearby

Within a five minute drive across the bridge are three very interesting visits. Ballycarbery Castle is the first one you reach, a fifteenth century McCarthy castle in ruins by the seashore. You take a left turn and go down a very narrow road, a few hundred yards to get to it.  It’s well signposted.

Secondly, there is a stone fort called ‘cahergall’ and just above that stone fort on a hill is another fort called ‘leacanabuaille’.  There are thousands of these ‘fairy’ forts scattered in fields all around the country.  Cahergall is the nearest one, less than a five minute walk from the car park.  It has been excavated and reconstructed unlike most of the forts. I will cover them in detail in a future blog!