Waterville is a small, neighbourly village, popular with golfers and anglers, overlooking Ballingskellig Bay in County Kerry. Waterville lies 35km (22 miles) and a half-hour drive west of Sneem, along the N70, which passes through the village. In Irish the village is known as An Coireán, meaning "the Sickle" -- a name derived from the concave shape of Ballinskelligs Bay. The Bay adjoins the west side of the town, while Lough Currane adjoins the east; both bodies of water are connected by the Currane River. Boasting a population of 538 in the 2002 census, Waterville offers
- Delightful scenery
- Several restaurants, pubs and cafes
- Gift shops
- A village market
History of Waterville
The village was founded in the late 18th century by the Butler family, who built a house at the mouth of the River Currane. They named the house and the estate Waterville and the village that sprang up took the same name. The first successful transatlantic cable was laid in 1865 between Heart’s Content in Newfoundland and Labrador and Valentia Island near Waterville. The cable eventually helped the town increase in size.
Waterville's Charlie Chaplin Connection
Many visitors to Waterville are surprised to find a bronze statue of Charlie Chaplin in the centre of the village. In 1952, when he left America to promote his latest film Limelight in London, Chaplin's re-entry permit to the US was revoked (Chaplin was English by birth), due to FBI suspicions that he was a communist.
Chaplin now remained in exile in Europe, and he settled his family in Switzerland. They first visited Waterville in 1959, encountering the village while touring the Ring of Kerry, and they stayed at the Butler Arms Hotel. The family fell in love with the village, and returned here every year, usually at Easter, for the next decade. The Chaplin children have retained their connection with Waterville. According to Geraldine Chaplin "my father felt very romantic toward my mother when they were in Ireland". The newly established Charlie Chaplin Comedy Film Festival is held in Waterville each year, with the permission of the family. It commemorates the work of the actor.
Charlie Chaplin & Waterville - Audio Documentary (39 mins)
Listen to RTE's documentary "Kerry and the Tramp" about Charlie Chaplin's connection with Waterville. The documentary features interviews with daughter Geraldine Chaplin and Kerry locals who met the family during their visits.
Fishing on Lough Currane
Lough Currane, a half-mile inland from the village, is widely known for its excellent salmon and sea trout angling. Salmon are in season from mid-January to the end of September, while sea trout can be caught between June and September. Note: A licence is required to catch sea trout or salmon in Ireland. More information about fishing permits: Ireland's Official Citizens Information Website
Fisherman catches a sea trout on Lough Currane -- a bit blurry at first, but stick with it!
Golf at Waterville
Waterville is renowned for its golf courses.
Waterville Golf Links
Waterville Golf Links, an 18-hole championship course, is one of the toughest and most scenic in Ireland or Britain. Over 100 years old, it was recently voted the fifth best golf course in the UK and Ireland and 34th in the top 100 courses worldwide. The course has been, and remains, popular with many of the world's best players, including Nick Faldo, Ernie Els, Mark O'Meara, Payne Stewart and Tiger Woods. Read more about Waterville Golf Links
Skellig Bay Golf Club
Located just a few kilometres a little further south of Waterville, on the other side of the Currane river, the Skelligs Bay Golf Club is a more modern course, having opened in 2006. Designed by respected American golf architect Ron Kirby, the Skellig Bay course also has stunning views, and is known for its particularly long holes. While not as prestigious or high-ranking as its famous neighbour, green fees on Skellig Bay can be more affordable, especially in summer months.
Source: RTE - the Irish national public service broadcaster.