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Valentia Island

Knightstown Valentia

Valentia Island

During the week we finalised our new pieces for The Gallery 21. We’re frequently asked about panoramic prints and there was one that went straight to the top of our list! 

This particular image of Knightstown, Valentia Island is one of my favourites and the more I look at it, the more I love it. The soft rolling clouds look like the smoke emitted from chimneys on a cold evening. The kind of evening for lighting the fire, making homemade soup and using the cosy blankets. 

I’ve also been to the island, located off the Iveragh Peninsula, on the sunniest days, when a 99 ice cream is the only outcome! When the sun shines here, there is beauty as far as the eye can see. The time passes slowly on Valentia Island, some would say it doesn’t exist at all! You wouldn’t mind loosing a few days to this lovely place, the hospitality is second to none. 

Valentia Island
                                                          Clouds roll over the hills above Knightstown on Valentia Island part of Irelands Wild Atlantic Way.

A little background knowledge-

There is a lot of history and background to this little island, including tetrapod prints and knights! The tetrapod imprints are a good place to begin, 350 million years ago when amphibians began to transition from water to land. This signified a major turning point in evolution and signifies evidence of four legged vertebrates (amphibians) moving over land. 

“The Valentia Island Tetrapod footprints are the most extensive of the four Devonian trackways in the world. (The others are in Tarbet Ness, Scotland; Genoa River, NSW Australia; Glen Isla, Victoria Australia). Access to the track way is by a pathway down to the rocks.” Valentia Island.ie

We’ll jump forward a few years to the Neolithic Age which left Ireland scattered with ancient graves. Cairns, Dolmens, Wedge tombs, Standing Stones, Ogham Stones, the remains of churches and numerous beehive huts can be found all over the place. These ruins have Irish mythology and stories and are well worth seeking out. Even if it was to ask ‘How did they do that without a JCB?” 

Valentia Island
                                                 An ancient graveyard in the morning sun, Valentia Island, Co. Kerry.

Again skipping forward through time and we land in the 18th Century. Did you know there were Knights of Kerry? 

Sir Peter Fitzgerald was the 19th Knight of Kerry and 1st Baronet of Valentia from 1808-1880. He was responsible for the industrial and economical growth of the island, championing the locals and their resources. Here are some of his achievements –
  • Growing & weaving of Flax for export
  • Railway terminal in Renard Point
  • Seaport in the Valentia Harbour
  • European end of the new Transatlantic Cable
  • Opening & development of the Slate Quarry
  • Commissioned the layout & building of Knightstown
  • Developed Glanleam Estate – house, gardens & farm
  • Encouraged tree-planting on the island 

 

Valentia Island
                       A straight well worn and used road directly in line with the Blasket Islands situated on Valentia Island 

Respect where respect is due when we look to the RNLI and Valentia Radio services who have been saving lives for over a century. A lifeboat station opened on the mainland at Renard in 1864. This closed and reopened in 1939, on Valentia Island and was made their permanent location in 1946.

The Radio has been answering distress calls since WW2 and continue to help monitor emergency frequencies in the maritime bands activate the  appropriate emergency services. 

There is so much more to this little island, you have to experience it for yourself! Book into one of its quaint B&B’s and spend a weekend exploring. Be warned though, the ferry is the only thing ever on time here!

The Gallery Team

Valentia Island
                                  An old battered gate entrance to a farm on Valentia Island on Irelands West Coast