44 Amazing Things Kerry Has That You Simply Won't Get In Dublin
Hon the Kingdom!
From a Dublin point of view, the best thing about Kerry is that they provide punchlines for Kerryman jokes.
But hey. We're all about encouraging differing opinions here at Lovin Dublin.
So ahead of this Sunday's All Ireland Final, we've handed the keys to the site over to Graham Clifford – a proud son of the Kingdom – to let us know what we're missing out on up here in the capital.
Here are 44 things Kerry has that you won't get in Dublin.
1. The world’s biggest collection of All-Ireland winner’s medals
Let's start with an obvious one: so plentiful are the Celtic Crosses in the Kingdom that any footballer with less than five is considered to have had an average career!
With 37 titles the men in the green and gold have dominated the sport since we won our very first All-Ireland in 1903. In comparison the Dubs have got their hands on the Sam Maguire a mere 24 times. Pah!
Some say God built Ireland’s tallest mountain in Ireland so we could look down on the rest of the country – and at 1,038m, it makes the Dublin Mountains look like an elongated molehill..
3. Fungie, the Dingle Dolphin
Since 1983 this bottle-nose dolphin has delighted tourists and sent local children to third-level.
He’s beautiful to look at… and also a money-making machine for Dingle. Win-win.
4. Michael Fassbender
Isn’t he one of the Fassbenders from Gneeveguilla! No, he’s not.
Though born over yonder in Germany he arrived into Killarney at the age of two – and the town that had everything was given something even more.
Michael was an altar boy at the local Cathedral, he went to primary school in Fossa and secondary school in St. Brendan’s in Killarney.
5. The Rose of Tralee
The ultimate ‘lovely girls’ competition is to RTÉ what Fungi is to Dingle – and better still, it’s now hosted by our own Daithi O’Sé.
A combination of the sublime and the ridiculous, and the people of Kerry wouldn’t have it any other way – though we haven’t had a local winner since Margaret O’Keefe in 1964.
Time to fix that, surely.
6. The Healy Raes
This year the enigmatic Jackie Healy Rae passed away, but the dynasty continues in earnest.
Come election time you can expect to see the people ‘who have dinner in the middle of the day’ pounding the byroads of the county promising locals they’ll ‘do their level best’ for them.
7. Skellig Michael
The stunning rock which sits 12km off the coast of South Kerry has been in the news recently as the cast and crew of the Disney Star Wars film headed back for more filming.
More importantly though the Skellig is home to remarkably preserved monastic settlements which date from the 8th century.
And even more importantly, it’s home to a puffin colony. Got many of those in Dublin?
8. The Dark Skies Reserve
For years those ‘above in Dublin’ have accused us in Kerry of living in the darkness… and for once we’re happy to say we are.
You see if you want to see the night sky in all its glory there’s no better place to be than in South Kerry – a designation granted by the illustrious International Dark-Sky Association!
9. Peig Sayers
True, her name sends shivers up the spine of many who had to study her life in Irish class over the decades but we’re very proud of the strong woman from the Blaskets.
10. Dáithí O’Sé
Another character from West Kerry, the RTÉ presenter caught the eye of a TG4 producer when he worked ferrying passengers on a boat to the Blasket Islands.
He left the boat behind, became a weather man and then a presenter and now is famed for presenting the Today programme on RTE and of course the Rose of Tralee.
11. The get-away-location of choice for many a Taoiseach
When the going gets tough on Kildare Street and the masses are baying for blood, successive Taoisigh get their drivers to point the car south and head for Kerry.
The bauld Charlie Haughey could do no wrong around the Dingle area and the locals became his close friends and strident defenders. So at home did Charlie feel here that he bought his own island, Inishvickillane, for £25,000 in 1974!
Both Bertie Ahern and Brian Cowen would frequently escape to the bosom of Fianna Fail heartland to have their tummies rubbed during their leadership years while Enda Kenny, who’s married to a Kerry woman, can often be spotted in his Lycra gear cycling the roads of the county.
12. Puck Fair
Perhaps the most unusual festival in the world – where thousands flock to effectively worship a goat.
Animal-rights groups believe the Puck Goat hoisted high into the stand in the centre of the town is being mistreated though locals argue ‘sure hasn’t he the best view in the town’!
13. The half-pub half-shop
Though dying out, the rather strange drinking-retail experience can still be found in places like Dingle.
On pension day these joints are rammed with the older generation buying the ‘messages’ for the week at one side of the premises then walking the few steps to the bar counter where they relax until much later in the evening.
Try as hard as you like, Mary’s, but you’ll never top this.
14. 'Last' orders
Ah, the Kingdom – where the flashing of the lights for last orders is met with a roar of laughter.
Sure we only get going after midnight!
15. The White Squad
In the more rural parts of the county the ‘White Squad’ are feared – and an advanced bush telegraph system is in place to make sure all are aware of their whereabouts.
16. Kerry’s Eye
There’s hardly a 21st birthday party that takes place in the county which isn’t featured in this paper.
Each week photographs of merry party revelers find their way into the publication and we play a weekly game of ‘spot the neighbour’.
17. Weeshie Fogarty
A living legend in the county the simply brilliant Weeshie Fogarty is the soundtrack of our GAA-obsessed lives.
A GAA pundit on Radio Kerry, a broadcaster, a former Kerry goalkeeper, an author and an all ground great man, Weeshie’s ‘Terrace Talk’ programme has won nearly as many awards as Kerry have won All-Irelands.
And he’s even more madcap when he’s not talking about sports – like the time he told listeners that Beyoncé was a man, even though he admitted he’d never heard ‘him’ sing.
18. Colm ‘Gooch’ Cooper
The man with the Midas touch.
The 32-year-old magician has been on the winning side in five All-Ireland finals and picked up eight All-Star awards during the years.
And there’s nothing he likes better than picking off scores against the Dubs. Just sayin’…
19. The Olde Glenbeigh Hotel
Not just old, but Olde.
The oldest hotel in Ireland, doncha know.
20. Kerry Group
This company has grown from a relatively small co-op into one of the world’s largest food and dairy giants, quoted on the Dublin and London stock exchanges and worth billions.
Sure ye can keep yer Googles and yer Facetwits.
21. Bishop Eamon Casey’s love nest
When news broke that Bishop Casey had fathered a son with American divorcee Annie Murphy, the people of Inch in West Kerry were shocked.
For it was in a little house here, above the strand, that the disgraced bishop and his lover ‘carried on’.
22. John B Keane
The King of Listowel the gifted John B Keane lit up the North Kerry town and rural Ireland in general.
One of Ireland’s greatest ever playwrights and authors John B’s plays such as Sive, the Field and Big Maggie continue to enthrall theatre goers across the globe.
23. Gallarus Oratory
Jaws drop when visitors set eyes on this stunning early Christian Church on the Dingle Peninsula.
Built between the 6th and 9th centuries it is perfectly preserved and when you walk into it you’re overcome by a sense of peace – so basically the polar opposite of Dublin.
24. Ryan’s Daughter
Long before the makers of Star Wars set their sights on Kerry, film director David Lean arrived here in 1970 to make this absolute classic.
25. Tom Crean
It’s said many locals around Annascaul had no idea where Tom Crean disappeared to when he’d leave home for months to explore the Antarctic.
Now that’s how you do enigmatic.
26. Daniel O’Connell
No intro needed, really. But here’s something you may not have known:
the Catholic Church in Cahersiveen is named after Daniel O’Connell, the only church in Ireland not to be named after a saint or a religious icon.
27. First Trans-Atlantic telegraph cable
Prior to August, 16, 1858, it would take at least ten days to deliver a message from Europe to North America by ship.
So the next time you feel the urge to tell a Kerryman joke just keep in mind it was us who basically invented the internet.
28. James Bond’s Kerry connections
I always thought there was something of a cute Kerry hoor about 007.
And sure enough, James Bond’s boss, “M,” was inspired by a man named William Melville (1850 – 1918) from Sneem.
In 1903, Melville became head of the British Secret Service and went by the code name “M” to hide his identity – and many of the tactics and methods developed by him are still in use to this day.
29. The Park Hotel, Kenmare
One of Ireland’s leading hotels, the stunning five-star Park in Kenmare is owned by none other than Brennan brothers Francis and John, well known for their TV work.
Yes, them from the telly.
30. Pat Spillane
To us he’s the ‘Templenoe hare’ who terrorised defences during Kerry’s golden years – to others, especially of a newer generation, he’s that red-faced Kerryman on the telly who gives out a lot.
31. Charlie Chaplin
The silent film star, found a home away from home in Waterville, Co. Kerry.
He traveled with his family there many times throughout the ‘60s and ‘70s , often staying at the Butler Arms Hotel, because hey – who needed Dublin?
The town is now host to the Charlie Chaplin Comedy Film Festival every summer.
32. Mick O’Connell
The Pele of GAA, the sight of O’Connell soaring through the sky to catch the ball is still said to be one of the greatest features of GAA sport down through the ages.
O’Connell famously boarded a train from Dublin directly after one particular All-Ireland win so as to be home on Valentia to milk the cows later that same evening – and he still lives on the island to this day.
33. The Gaeltacht
During the summer weeks West Kerry is flooded with young students visiting the Gaeltacht to improve their Irish – many arrive willingly, others less enthusiastic, but all go home feeling all the better for their stint away from the big shmoke.
There are more top quality golf courses in Kerry than you can shake a stick at, with a staggering nine courses listed in the top 100 in the country.
Amongst these are the famed old course at Ballybunion where none other than Tiger Woods and Bill Clinton have been known to play a round.
35. Paidi O’Sé pub in Ventry
If the walls of this pub could talk they’d have one incredible yarn to tell.
Páidis in Ventry has become a must see location for visitors to West Kerry, with Tom Cruise, Dolly Parton and of course Charlie Haughey himself frequenting the watering hole established by Kerry GAA legend Paidi O’Sé.
36. The Hill Grove hotel and nightclub, Dingle
Let’s call this one a ‘rite of passage’.
37. Nicks Restaurant
Seafood and shellfish arrives daily from Glenbeigh, Kells Bay, Dingle and Portmagee and the lobster tank is always full – Dublin may be pretty hot right now, but it still doesn’t have Nicks.
38. Radio Kerry Death Notices
My grandfather would never miss the death notices being read out.
Once, when a relation brought him a spanking new radio from Dublin as a gift, he responded “take that blasted thing away from me, sure that’s a Dublin radio, how in the name of God would I get Kerry Radio on that!’
You know the way a picture tells a thousand words?
Well. We’ll just leave this here.
40. The Aquadome, Tralee
Because where else would you get to play something called ‘Aqua Golf’?
41. Mícheál Ó Muircheartaigh
The silver-tongued voice of GAA for so long, every sentence the great Dún Síon man utters seems liked it’s been crafted by Gods on high.
Amongst his classics of course:
- “Anthony Lynch, the Cork corner back, will be the last man to let you down– his people are undertakers.”
- “The stopwatch has stopped. It’s up to God and the referee now. The referee is Pat Horgan. God is God.”
- “Pat Fox has it on his hurl and is motoring well now... but here comes Joe Rabbitte hot on his tail.... I’ve seen it all now, a Rabbitte chasing a Fox around Croke Park.”
42. The Kerry Cow
The rarest of rare breeds they reckon and first brought to Ireland as early as 2000 BC.
Confusion abounds as to why they took the name of our county but we’ll take it.
43. Mick O’Dwyer
The Don, the maestro, the ringleader of one of the greatest football sides Gaelic football has ever seen.
O’Dwyer went for youth over experience in the late 70s and built a Kerry side that would win eight All-Ireland football titles. EIGHT!
Oh, and not to brag or anything, but as a player he won four Celtic crosses. After stints as boss with Kildare, Laois, Wicklow and Clare he’s now finally taking a bit of a breather.
44. A long history of walking all over things
Long before great Kerry footballers roamed these lands, other giants liked to take a stroll here too – as evidenced by these ancient footprints.
The Valentia Island Tetrapod fossilized footprints are the oldest record of vertebrate life on land, proving that we've been trouncing all over the place for millions of years – and we're going to do the exact same to Dublin come this Sunday!