Kenmare has an ancient and historical story to be told, which has never been properly investigated or for that matter highlighted.There is proof of human habitation in this area for thousands of years and the evidence is littered all around us, if we ever stopped to look. Tracing our D.N.A has become very popular, but what does being Irish mean? As far as we know, all human life disappeared roughly ten thousand years ago, during the ice age. At this time Ireland, England and Europe were connected by a vast cover of snow and ice. The Iberian peninsula in Spain was a small area, free of ice, and home to a group of people who hunted the coastline for fish and seals, very similar to what the Eskimos still do today. They were by necessity adventurous and followed their quarry out into The Atlantic but as their boats and equipment as you can guess was rudimentary, just stuck to the edges of the ice floes. As the years passed and the world started to warm up again, small areas of solid ground started to appear out of the ice. A god send to these people because now they were able to build encampments and extend their hunting range. The tips of Cornwall and Kerry were their first areas of habitation and this is why the D.N.A of the people from Iberia, Brittany, and of Ireland are incredibly similar. Because sea levels back then were lower and only increased as the ice melted, all trace of the first Irish settlers has been washed away.
However from roughly 5,000 B.C onwards, there is a wealth of evidence of civilised people in this area who hunted, fished, farmed and even studied understanding both the seasons and the heavens. They also carried out impressive building projects which still stand today, testament to their excellent craftsmanship. To give examples in the town alone you have the stone circle and the underground chambers near the Finnihy River. The Lios (Defended positions) near Dromnevane and Liosanuisce. The same in Cahir and Bonane, Dromroughty, Cloonee (Valley of the Deer), Tousist and Lauragh. It is a huge pity they they have not been investigated, properly written up and utilised properly as a tourist attraction as a whole instead of in fragments. Killaha-East is special, it is a place which had a lot of cooking kits, the special part comes from a farmer who was trying to shift some flag stones off one of his fields. Under them, he discovered the burial site of a warrior who was buried in the bronze age with all his weapons, shield and helmet still intact. As I understand, it was somewhat lost or damaged but the rest is in the safe keeping of the National Museum of Dublin. It is called the Killaha Hoard, could we ever get it on loan to put on display? It is just an idea. The late Jack Downing, R.I.P, whose family were farmers in Killaha told me about it and that they had nicknamed the Farmer, Battle Axe Dan. We should all be proud of our ancestors who had to fight to survive through war and pestilence so that we could live, we should not forget them, nor hold we confine them to the past. They were once living, breathing people just trying to get through each day, just as we do now. They deserve better.
Happy tourist and happy locals have called into tell me the same story and show the evidence of some wonderful sea-fishing. Both groups had similar catches, grand big pollock and fine mackerel. In case you’re thinking this was off a boat, they were both shore fishing.
The trout anglers were happy as well (this happiness will have to stop) as they said trout fishing was very good with big catches of dark olives on the lakes, and were in excellent condition for so early in the season. One angler who fishes for sea-bass regularly said he caught none yet, and was a bit disappointed, but expected it was due to their spawning season being close, 15th May-15th June. The department were going to review the regulations, although have not informed me of any changes as of yet.
Tommy Wharton over on his annual fishing trip from Canada went out with his cousin fishing in Waterville. He is one lucky angler, as he caught a fine spring salmon. The rest of us have not even got the smell of one but hope springs eternal.