Derrynane House and National Park
Derrynane National Historic Park
A short distance from the Derrynane Hotel you will find Derrynane National Park and Derrynane House, the ancestral family home of Daniel O’Connell (6 August 1775 – 15 May 1847), known as ‘The Liberator’, a 19th century politician who championed the cause of the Irish in the British Parliament and succeeded in achieving Catholic Emancipation which he believed would be the first step in achieving Home Rule. The house and grounds have been preserved and are open to the public every day during the summer months and anyone touring the Ring of Kerry should make a point of visiting.
The ancestral home of Daniel O’Connell, Derrynane House is a public museum commemorating one of Ireland’s leading historical figures and arguably the greatest ever Irishman, known by the nation as the Great Liberator.
Barrister, early civil rights activist, politician and statesmen, Daniel O’Connell was a huge figure amid the upheavals of the early 19th Century in Ireland. O’Connell was born in a humble cottage to a Catholic family in nearby Caherciveen but came to live at Derrynane House with his uncle from an early age. His uncle “Hunting Cap” O’Connell had grown rich through smuggling from both France and Spain. When he died childless in 1825 the Derrynane estate was left to Daniel, whose descendants went on to live at Derrynane until 1958.
O’Connell first came to prominence as a Barrister having trained at Lincoln’s Inn in London and later transferring to Dublin’s King’s Inn. O’Connell defended the rights of Catholics being tried for their beliefs and in 1823 founded the Catholic Association. This mass movement strived for equal rights and religious tolerance for Catholics, staging peaceful protests and mass meetings known as “Monster Rallies”, across the country. In 1828 O’Connell was elected a Member of Parliament for County Clare, but under laws banning Catholics, didn’t take his seat. His re-election the following year forced the British Parliament to overturn its anti-Catholic legislation in what is known as the Catholic Emancipation Act of 1829. This famous victory earned O’Connell his “The Great Liberator” moniker and his place in Irish history.
Derrynane House was opened as a museum by the Irish State in 1967. The house is furnished with family portraits, writings and a great many items relating to Daniel O’Connell himself: from the duelling pistols used when he killed rival John D’Esterre in 1815 and the black glove he wore in memory henceforth, to the fabulous gold chariot he rode through Dublin amidst jubilant crowds on his release from prison. A video presentation at Derrynane House outlines the life and times of the great man.
November – March Sat and Sun 13:00-17:00
April and October Tues – Sun 13:00-17:00
May – September Mon – Sat 09:00-18:00
May – September Sun 11:00-19:00
Last admission 45 minutes before closing.
Adult EUR 2.75
Child EUR 1.25
Student EUR 1.25
Senior EUR 2.00
Family EUR 7.00
Group EUR 2.00
Guided Tours: Yes
Audio Visual: Yes
Car Park: Yes
Coach Park: Yes
Disabled Access: Yes