Valentia Island Kerry

Valentia Island crowned by Geokaun Mountain, Valentia Island (Oileán Dairbhre) is an altogether homier isle than the brooding Skelligs to the southwest. Like the Skellig Ring it leads to, Valentia is an essential, coach-free detour from the Ring of Kerry, with some lonely ruins worth exploring.

Prior to the laying of the Transatlantic Cable it took approximately two weeks from a message to reach North America from Europe… weather permitting as all communications were sent via boat.

The idea of a transatlantic cable was first proposed in 1845, but the distances and depths presented formidable problems. In 1856 the Atlantic Telegraph Company was registered with a capital of £350,000 (then about $1,400,000). On the American side Cyrus W. Field was the driving force; on the British side it was Charles Bright and brothers John and Jacob Brett.

The First Cable
The manufacture of the cable started in early 1857 and was completed in June. Before the end of July it was stowed on the American Niagara and the British Agamemnon — both naval vessels lent by their respective governments for the task. They started at Valentia Harbour in Ireland on 5 August. For the first few days, everything went well but six days later, due to a mistake made with the brake which limited the rate of descent, the cable snapped. Just 380 miles had been laid.

The ships were forced to return to port. An extra 700 miles of cable was made for the second attempt which began on 25 June 1858. This time the same two ships met each other in mid-Atlantic where they joined their respective ends. The cable broke almost immediately. Again the two ships made another splice: this time they managed 40 miles before it broke again. The fourth time they had laid 146 miles before the cable was lost yet again. It was clear that this was not going to be easy! The two ships returned to Ireland but it was decided that, despite the loss of a considerable amount of cable, they still had enough for a further attempt. On 29 July they made their fifth attempt, again starting from the mid-point. This time it worked! On 5 August 1858 both ships reached their destinations – Valentia Harbour in Ireland and Trinity Bay in Newfoundland. The two continents were joined.

On 16 August communication was established with the message “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth, peace, good will to men.” Unfortunately the engineer in charge, Wildman Whitehouse, started by applying very high voltages rather than the very weak currents that had been tested during the cable laying. Within three weeks the damage inflicted on the cable by the high voltages was becoming apparent and it ceased to work.

The Second Cable
It took several years before another attempt was made. This time a single ship was chartered, the enormous Great Eastern, by far the largest ship of its day. She started from Valencia at the end of July 1865 and succeeded in laying 1,200 miles before the cable snapped. Several attempts were made to retrieve the broken end but they all failed.

Third Time Lucky
After so many failed attempts, the final, successful, cable was laid with virtually no problems. On 27 July 1866, the cable was pulled ashore at a tiny fishing village in Newfoundland known by the charming name of Heart’s Content. The distance was 1686 nautical miles Valentia Island. The Great Eastern had averaged 120 miles a day while paying out the cable. The first message sent on this, finally successful, cable was: “A treaty of peace has been signed between Austria and Prussia”. Queen Victoria, then at Osborne, in the Isle of Wight, sent a message to the President of the United States. “The Queen congratulates the President on the successful completion of an undertaking which she hopes may serve as an additional bond of Union between the United States and England.”

Almost immediately, the cable opened for business but only the very wealthy could afford it – the initial rates were a startling $1 a letter, payable in gold – at a time that a monthly wage for a labourer might be $20.

It is interesting to note that even though later cables could carry large numbers of signals at the same time, it was not until the 1960s that the first communication satellites offered a serious alternative to the cable when in 1966 the Transatlantic Cable Station closed its doors for the last time.

If you are visiting Valentia Island why not stay in Brook Lane Hotel Kenmare

and visit no35 kenmare restaurant

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Whale Watching off south west coast

Whale Watching: To date 24 species of the world’s whales and dolphins have been recorded in Irish waters. In recent years over 12 cetacean species have been seen in the clear, unpolluted West Cork waters making them one of the richest areas for whale and dolphin watching in Ireland. Irish whale watching has definitely taken off in West Cork with wide species diversity present for over half the year.  inke Whales arrive off our coast starting in March. Fin Whales traditionally arrive in the late summer/early autumn. Both species continue through to the early winter months, providing some spectacular opportunities to view these large marine mammals only a few kilometers from the coast if the sea conditions are suitable. The less predictable Humpback Whales traditionally arrive during autumn months. 

for accommodation please contact brook lane Hotel Kenmare at

or 064-6642077

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Dursey Island

Dursey cable car

Dursey Island (Irish: Oileán Baoi (Island of the Bull in Viking Norse)) is one of the few inhabited islands that lie off the southwest coast of Ireland. It is situated at the western tip of the Beara Peninsula in the west of County Cork. Dursey Island is 6.5 km long and 1.5 km wide. The island is separated from the mainland by a narrow stretch of water called the Dursey Sound which has a very strong tidal race, with a reef of rocks in the centre of the channel which is submerged at high tides. This peaceful island, with only a handful of semi-permanent residents, is connected to the mainland by Ireland’s only cable car.


The island, historically, was made up of 3 villages or ‘townlands’. These are Ballynacallagh, Kilmichael, and Tilickafinna respectively from east to west on the island. Quite a few of the buildings that comprised these villages can still be seen today.

If you are visiting Dursey Island why not stay in Brook Lane Hotel Kenmare and have dinner in No35 restaurant kenmare


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Skellig Michael

The jagged, 217m-high rock of Skellig Michael (Archangel Michael’s Rock; like St Michael’s Mount in Cornwall and Mont Saint Michel in Normandy) is the larger of the two islands and a Unesco World Heritage site. It looks like the last place on earth where anyone would try to land, let alone establish a community, yet early Christian monks survived here from the 6th until the 12th or 13th century. Influenced by the Coptic Church (founded by St Anthony in the deserts of Egypt and Libya), their determined quest for ultimate solitude led them to this remote, windblown edge of Europe.


The monastic buildings perch on a saddle in the rock, some 150m above sea level, reached by 600 steep steps cut into the rock face. The astounding 6th-century oratories and beehive cells vary in size; the largest cell has a floor space of 4.5m by 3.6m. You can see the monks’ south-facing vegetable garden and their cistern for collecting rainwater. The most impressive structural achievements are the settlement’s foundations – platforms built on the steep slope using nothing more than earth and drystone walls.


Not much is known about the life of the monastery, but there are records of Viking raids in AD 812 and 823. Monks were kidnapped or killed, but the community recovered and carried on. In the 11th century a rectangular oratory was added to the site, but although it was expanded in the 12th century, the monks abandoned the rock around this time.


After the introduction of the Gregorian calendar in 1582, Skellig Michael became a popular spot for weddings. Marriages were forbidden during Lent, but since Skellig used the old Julian calendar, a trip to the islands allowed those unable to wait for Easter to tie the knot.


In the 1820s two lighthouses were built on Skellig Michael, together with the road that runs around the base.


There are no toilets on the island.  







If you are visiting Skellig Michael why not stay in Brook Lane Hotel kenmare

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No35 wins European food award

Major International Award Win For Kerry Hotelier and Pig Breeder

Dermot Brennan, owner of the boutique Brook Lane Hotel, Casey’s Bar & Restaurant and No 35 Restaurant in Kenmare, Co Kerry, has won Champion of Ireland 2016 for Best Pork Sausage at the prestigious Fins Goustiers European Championships.

The awards, which are held annually in Normandy, France, is the European Championships for certain meat products, namely sausages and white puddings. Held annually in Alençon, Normandy, France, they are widely regarded as one of the most prestigious awards for processed pork products. The purpose of the awards is to promote these meat products and uphold the standards of production. The awards are only open to artisan butchers who produce their own products. Sixteen products from Ireland competed for the title and the competing sausages were judged on three criteria – appearance, seasoning and taste.

Dermot’s award winning sausages contain 100% pork from his own pigs, use natural casings, and have naturally occurring salt and iodine. They can be found on the menus at Casey’s Restaurant in Brook Lane Hotel and in dishes such as the pork tasting plate with apple ketchup, cider jus and crackling in No 35 restaurant.

David Beresford, Le Grand Prevost of Commanderie des Fins Goustiers du Duche d’Alencon, said, “The standard of entries in the competition for the pork sausage was extremely high. Dermot Brennan did exceptionally well to achieve the award of Champion of Ireland in this category, beating some previous holders of the title who were also competing and some of the best butchers in Ireland.”

Dermot, who owns and runs the hotel and restaurants with his wife Una, began breeding rare-breed, pedigree saddleback outdoor pigs five years ago on twenty acres of land one kilometre from the hotel.

Speaking after the win, Dermot said, “The unique environment where our pigs live gives the meat its distinctive and very special flavour. We are situated two kilometres from the Atlantic ocean which gives our pork its unique flavour from the salt coming in off Kenmare Bay. The high salt levels and iodine-rich content of these plants and grasses that our pigs feed on make the muscle cells in the flesh retain more moisture so the meat is juicier and melt-in-the-mouth tender, a taste that has been largely forgotten in today’s mass produced pork.”

The pigs that produce the free-range pork are born outside and spend their entire lives in the fresh air, with freedom to roam in large paddocks and root around in the soil. They have shelter when they need it in the form of large straw bedded mobile huts, and they grow at a much slower, more natural rate.

Dermot also produces his own chorizo sausage, pork burgers, hams and dry-cured bacon. Most of the produce for the family-run hotel and restaurants is sourced locally, and the Brennans, who have three young children, also keep their own hens which supply their businesses with farm fresh eggs.

You can find more information

No 35 at

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Ring of Beara Cycle 2016


The fantastic Ring of Beara cycle is back this weekend for an exciting 140km or 110km cycle by the rugged Wild Atlantic Way coastal route of the Beara Peninsula. The cycle attracts thousands of participants from around the country who come together to raise money for this years two nominated charities: Southwest Counselling and Cancer Connect. Now in its second year the cycle transforms the picturesque town of Kenmare into a haven for cycle enthusiasts, tourists & locals alike.

We are delighted that our sister property the Brook Lane Hotel are the official headquarters of the cycle and are proud to host the after party this Saturday night with local legendary band “Stone De Crows”!! Guaranteed to be a great night with great food and even better craic we hope to see you all here to wrap up another successful year of the Ring of Beara Cycle.

For all info on the cycle click the link below and keep an eye on our Facebook page throughout the weekend for updates on an exciting weekend in Kenmare!! | 064 664 1559  |


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September Events in Kerry Feature – Killarney Women’s Mini Marathon

Killarney Women’s Mini Marathon will take place on Saturday 19th September this year. The route takes in the streets of Killarney town and the scenic Killarney National Park.


Killarney Women's Mini Marathon

(Image courtesy of

Please note that there are no registrations on the day. This is a strictly pre-registered event and you can choose to partake in a 5km or 10km event – either of which will be filled with fun, colour and even more fun!

The brilliant thing about this event that we absolutely love is that while the naming convention is very clearly “Women’s”, the crafty organisers have worked out a way of attracting male participants by insisting that they are welcome to take part but with one condition – just a small bit of dressing up is required, take a look at the below promotional shot of Killarney Women’s Mini Marathon to see exactly what we mean!


Killarney Women's Mini Marathon - Are You Man Enough?

(Image courtesy of


Registration for the Killarney Women’s Mini Marathon can be done in either of two ways. You can register online or else send a completed postal entry form, find out everything you need to know about registering for this fun-filled event here:

And if you are planning a celebratory dinner having enjoyed the exertions of a local sporting event, our private dining room with special group menu is an ideal venue for group dinner in Kerry.

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Foodie Heaven Next To Kenmare – A Taste of West Cork Food Festival

While we know that our beautiful town of Kenmare & indeed Co. Kerry is a little piece of “heaven on earth” we also know that our neighbours in West Cork have something pretty special going on too when it comes to quality cuisine and stunning scenery!

And we think that the Taste of West Cork Food Festival (which runs from 4th to 13th September, 2015 in Skibbereen) celebrates perfectly  the unique area that is West Cork and everything that makes it, truly, a place apart.

A Taste of West Cork – here’s the lowdown…

A Taste of West Cork Food Festival is so much more than a festival which happens to be about food.  A Taste of West Cork Food Festival actively promotes everything about West Cork as a unique destination.

Food carries an inherent feeling of nurture, comfort and gratification. Healthy, naturally produced, fresh tasting and beautifully prepared food further enhances our feeling of wellbeing.

Place this in a geographical area known for its wild scallops and black puddings  for its wonderful natural beauty, layered with ancient spirituality and human tragedy and liberally sprinkled with a purity of culture, art and craft and the result is “West Cork – a place apart!”

View this “A Taste of West Cork” video which showcases this wonderful event:


A Taste of West Cork – food events galore

The beauty of West Cork  draws so many artists, writers, craft people and food producers to West Cork.  A Taste of West Cork Food Festival showcases the wonderful food and food creators of this very special place.

Food Markets at A Taste of West Cork Food Festival

(Image courtesy of:

It brings together a unique mix of food markets and cooking demonstrations, food tasting and cookery competitions, special dinners, brunches,and banquets, talks and exhibits, children’s events, adventures and more.

A Taste of West Cork – celebrating food hero’s

A Taste of West Cork which  is one of  Ireland’s longest running food festival, and if fast becoming a premier event on the food calendar.  The festival  is one of the best opportunity for the  many local producers and chefs  to showcase their wares to people passionate about food.

Check out this video clip about the renowned Belling Artisan Food Awards which are an integral part of the festival:


A Taste of West Cork Food Festival understands how important local food is to our economy and with our wealth of artisan food producers, supportive retailers and markets, talented chefs and award winning restaurants we  continue to attract visitors to West Cork.

The world renowned food combined with the most idyllic part of Ireland makes A Taste of West Cork Food Festival the perfect festival for all the family.

Why A Taste of West Cork 2015 Will Be Bigger & Better

The 2015 Festival is set to be bigger and better and  will include the much loved traditional open air street food and craft market, daily walks, interactive workshops,  food demonstrations and tastings, themed nights in restaurants in Skibbereen and beyond, the already famous Celtic Cook off, cookery competitions, traditional music nights and many special events.

There is something to tempt every palate and many of the events staged throughout the festival week are free or minimum charges apply so there is also something to suit everyone’s pocket.

So whether you are a fan of restaurants in Kerry or West Cork, this truly superb food festival will celebrate all that is great and good within the region’s ever-popular food industry. 

Find out more & view the festival’s full program of events on the A Taste of West Cork website

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Hey Kenmare, The Lost Sheep Triathlon Is Coming To Town!


The Lost Sheep Triathlon is one of the premier races in the country starting and finishing in Kenmare – but let us assure you, this ain’t just any old triathlon!

This is an extremely challenging course set in the beautiful Beara Peninsula continually attracts some of the country’s top triathletes

Lost Sheep Triathlon is taking place on Saturday September 5th 2015

Since its inception in 2003 it has gained a reputation both nationally and internationally as the toughest half iron distance race on the Irish triathlon circuit. The Lost Sheep Half Iron triathlon is entering its 13th year and this year will be the biggest race ever with space for 400 individual competitors. The race will fill fast so set your alarm clock now!

Traditionally staged in September each year the event starts with a 1900m swim in the scenic Kenmare Bay.

Lost Sheep Triathlon: Kenmare Bay…so who fancies a swim here?

Lost Sheep Triathlon, Kenmare Bay

This is followed by an 83km cycle which takes competitors from Kenmare out along the Ring of Beara peninsula before going up and over it to the other side.

This journey takes competitors over two category one climbs. Firstly the Healy Pass.

On reaching the top you cross the county border from the northern Kerry half of the peninsula into the southern Cork side after just over 27km into the cycle. You now have to navigate your way down the other side with its 6 switch-switch back hairpins to test your Tour de France style descending technique on what can only be described as Ireland’s answer to l’Alpe d’Huez’s 21 switch-backs.

Here’s a superb video from the Lost Sheep Triathlon Kenmare 2014 which showcases the sheer endurance required for this truly unique event:

Continuing back down to the Ring of Beara, through the small town of Adrigole, from here you continue on into  Glengarriff. On this stretch of road you will be treated to stunning views over Bantry Bay with Sheeps Head, Whiddy Island in the background.

You now face the Caha Pass which will take you from Glengarriff back to Kenmare over the Caha Mountains.

This time at the summit the border from Cork into Kerry is marked by a dark tunnel (don’t be scared!) some 150 meters long which takes you straight through the side of Baurearagh Mountain.With just over 60km of the cycle completed at this point another spectacular 6km descent awaits down into the village of Bonane.

This town gets its name from Fionn Mac Cumhall, the legendary leader of the Fianna who had house here some 6,000 years ago (Both-Fhionáin or Fionn’s house, now anglicised to Bonane).

The section of road here has been poor in recent years but this year there are plans afoot by Kerry county council to have it resurfaced before the start of the race. From here it is a simple 14km mainly downhill TT back to T2.

The bike course is 10km short of a ‘normal’ half iron event but ask anyone who has done it if they wanted any more!

For further information on The Lost Sheep Triathlon Kenmare 2015 – visit the website of Triathlon Ireland.

Of course, if all of this sounds far too energetic & too much hard work – why not kick back & view the beauty of the Beara Peninsula and some elements of the Lost Sheep Triathlon route with this relaxing video clip:

So whether you’re planning on taking part in the Lost Sheep Triathlon or will merely be cheering on the participants, we’ll be ready to welcome all those tired limbs here at No. 35 Kenmare Restaurant with a warm welcome & a fine selection of cuisine that will have all concerned fully revitalized and rejuvenated!

And if you are staying overnight in Kenmare, don’t forget to check out our sister property – Brook Lane Hotel Kenmare.

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August Events in Kerry Feature – Daniel O’Connell Summer School

The county of Kerry is steeped in heritage and history and has produced some of the most defining figures in Irish history. One such figure is “The Great Emancipator”, “The Liberator”, the one and only Daniel O’Connell who’s life and legacy is celebrated the world over.

And it is with this purpose that the Daniel O’Connell Summer School is organised on an annual basis in his homeland of Derrynane, Caherdaniel and Cahersiveen in South Kerry. A mix of academics, Irish history enthusiasts and the general public now flock to this most picturesque part of the world to partake in both exploration and celebration of O’Connell’s life.

Daniel O'Connell Summer School

The overall purpose of the school is to examine aspects of the historical career of Daniel O’ Connell as well as to consider the challenges which they pose for the direction of modern Ireland.


Date: 28 August 2015 To 29 August 2015

Location: Derrynane House, Caherdaniel and Cahersiveen Library, Cahersiveen, Co. Kerry


This event is well worth attending as it combines all elements of the historical significance of O’Connell’s life but also takes place in two very important locations that remained core to his heritage and indeed his inspiration.

Cahersiveen is the birthplace of the great man and it is here in the town’s library that the proceedings for the event get under way on Friday 28th August, 2015 at 09.30am with events then running through the day.

Derrynane House, home of Daniel O’Connell featured on RTE TV:

On Saturday 29th August, 2015 all participants will make their way to the historic and stunningly beautiful grounds of Derrynane House just outside the equally picturesque village of Caherdaniel – it was in Derrynane House that O’Connell lived having inherited it from his uncle.


A whole host of events and talks will take place throughout the day and further information on the entire programme festival can be found at:

Derrynane, Caherdaniel and Cahersiveen are located west/south-west of Kenmare and are well worth visiting in their own right. The drive from Kenmare to Caherdaniel along the N70 route is one of the most scenic drives in all of Ireland which has numerous viewing spots, attractions , pubs and restaurants on Kerry’s famous Ring of Kerry touring route.

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