Posted by: Our Kerry | June 15, 2013

Valentia – on the edge of Europe!


View from the Slate Quarry

“So, who are your competitors?” asked the advertising professional from L.A. of the owner of Valentia Island Car Ferry

“A bridge!” answered the man from Valentia Island Car Ferry

(the Maurice O Neill Memorial Bridge to be exact!)

Yes, there are two ways to get to Valentia Island –  a car ferry from Renard Point, Cahersiveen (you can detour to the Skellig Chocolate Factory en route) or by road, over the bridge from Portmagee. I suggest trying both out – take the ferry over and drive around the island and back over to the mainland by road!  The ferry costs about €6 one way and it’s just a short hop – they take walk on passengers too.


View from the Observatory

Valentia Island sits at the very edge of Europe – next stop the USA! It is a place of real beauty with a kind of magical quality.  Arriving off the ferry you come in to Knightstown  – there is a feeling of grandeur and status about the place – it’s like a scene from a  Jane Austen book!  There’s plenty of see and do in Valentia in spite of its tiny size.  The world famous Valentia Slate Quarry, owned by the Lynes, has supplied slate to places like the Houses of Parliament in London. You can also see it on the reception floor of Radio Kerry in Tralee and they now do a range of gifts as well! Valentia Island was the base of the very first attempts at the Atlantic cable laying in 1857 and 1858, and of the successful expedition of 1866, and is the location of the oldest Atlantic cable stations in the world. For more info see this web page Atlantic Cable  And you can go diving, whale watching and sailing if any of these water based activities appeal.


The Dwelling House

If you are a walker then take a walk up Geokaun (pronounced locally as Yo-Cawn) mountain and Fogher Cliffs, out to the Lighthouse or out to the now decommissioned Weather Observatory. You can also see the fossilized Tetrapod (a really ancient vertebrate) tracks which were discovered by a geology student in the early 1990s. After all that activity you’ll probably want to take a rest and I really recommend The Dwelling House. They offer a lovely menu and inside it’s lovely and quirky with a cosy feel in a warren of rooms.


The Enchanted garden

On a sunny day there is a gorgeous enclosed courtyard with  lots of nooks and crannies to enjoy all fresco dining – it’s called The Enchanted Garden and it’s everything it promises with explosions of color everywhere you look.  The coffee is tasty and they do a mean chocolate fudge cake!


Watch the World Go By

If you prefer people watching then you can always sit out front and watch the world go by!  It’s a particularly good spot at Festival time and Valentia has a couple of those! The King Scallop Festival (July 13th & 14th in 2013) and in 2012 they introduced a Music Festival which drew big crowds of all ages who’s spirits didn’t appear to be dampened any bit by the inclement weather  – the Hunter wellies were out in force!  This year it’s on September 13th to 15th – clearly they like to do things mid month in Valentia 😉

 Valentia Island – one visit will leave you wanting more!



  1. Please could you edit this? The fare for the ferry is 6 euros not 5 thanks 🙂

    • Thanks for clarifying that Rosemary! I’ve made that change. Appreciate you taking the time to read the blog 🙂

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