The Heritage Council
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The townland of Kilcredaun is named after St. Credaun, who apparently lived in the neighbouring townland of Carrigaholt. He was a disciple of St. Senan of Scattery Island around the 6th century. There are the remains of two early single cell Christian churches, associated buildings and a holy well at this townland that may be connected to St. Credaun. The Early Christian lower church, was constructed of uncut field stones, indicating it has an early date. There was a later Romanesque window added, with the stone for the window imported from the midlands. The church ruins were later used as a graveyard and the crypt of the last man to live at Carrigaholt Castle, Henry Stewart Burton is located there.
The holy well, the suggested burial place of St. Credaun is unusually tidal. It is submerged with sea water when the tide comes in and fills up with fresh drinkable water when the tide goes out. There is a cave close by which was used as a place for those with relatives lost at sea to pray.
A landmark for those travelling up and down the river is Eugene O Curry's Irish College which is the location of a 19th century coast guard station. The coast guard station had uninterrupted views up the Shannon river. Eugene O’Curry was born in nearby Doonaha and was a prominent academic who translated and transcribed many early Irish texts.
The Napoleonic Period battery which has been sitting in defence of Kilcredaun since 1814 is one of six batteries located in the vicinity. There were Napoleonic French invasion plans to access and invade Britain from the west of Ireland. The Mouth of the Shannon was one of the three invasion areas included in the French Directory's instructions to Vice- Admiral Villaret de Loveuse in October 1796, during the preparations of an expedition to Ireland and the batteries were constructed to ensure the seas leading to Limerick were adequately monitored and protected. Napoleon was defeated soon after the batteries were built so the canons were never used but there were soldiers based there for a time.
Kilcredaun was also the location of a World War 2 lookout post number 44, part of the coastal watching service which guarded the coastline. These World War 2 lookout posts or LOPs were located 15km apart and local people was employed at them to report any unusual activity in the sea or air that might affect neutral Ireland’s safety.
The recently decommissioned Kilcredaun Point Lighthouse is built on Kilcredaun Head. It is a single bay, two-stage round stone tower with lantern and gallery attached to one-story keeper's house. The lighthouse was built in 1824 and cost £8,000 to build. It is a miniature version of Loop Head Lighthouse and was designed by the same architect George Halpin. There are beautiful views of the Kerry coastline and mountains and the iconic Rehy hill (124m high) from the lighthouse.
The Okeanos, a 7,000 tonnes Panama steamer ran aground at Kilcredaun point in 1947, in suspicious circumstances. Having delivered 5,000 tonnes of grain to Limerick Port, it was on the way back in good conditions with clear instructions from pilots were to go when it was probably deliberately run aground, for insurance purposes. The 12 Greek sailors on board came ashore and by all accounts have an eventful stay in Carrigaholt before their journey home. At low tide, part of the ship is still visible today.
Kilcredaun Point/ Kilconly Point is bounded by high rocky sea cliffs. The cliffs are sparsely vegetated with lichens, red fescue, sea beet, sea campion, thrift and plantains. There is a high chance of spotting dolphins from Kilcredaun; one of their popular feeding points when the tide turns. Kilcredaun also has quiet country roads, popular with walkers.
The sites at Kilcredaun are mostly on private land but can be accessed by taking a tour with a local guide.
Site Recommendations and Observations
There are many existing and established walking routes on the public roads in the Kilcredaun area. However, for both a local and visitor to fully appreciate the rich heritage in the area, it is recommended that further investigation, dialogue and development work be undertaken regarding possible future public access to the heritage sites located on private lands on the Kilcredaun headland.
The number and location of these sites on this scenic headland, points to significant potential for the development of a high quality public walking route to enjoy the area and the economic benefits that come with a successful walking trail.
It is recommended that all proposed tourism literature and site interpretation material state that there is currently (2014) no public access to the site and to explore and enjoy the area you require a local guide who is permitted access by the landowner (s).
If a public access walking route is secured in the future, it is recommended that consideration also be given to the provision of adequate road signage, car and cycle parking and interpretation before or after walking route development works are complete.
The following three statements apply to all site recommendations:
- ‘All proposals must comply with all planning, local authority and other statutory requirements.’
- ‘All proposals for development within, adjacent to or with the potential to affect a Natura 2000 site will be subject to an Appropriate Assessment Screening. To ensure that a Habitat Directive Assessment is carried out to assess the likely impacts on Natura 2000 sites in order to comply with Article 6(3) of the Habitat Directive and in accordance with the requirements of the European Communities (Birds and Natural Habitats) Regulations 2011.’
- ‘All projects must be undertaken in accordance with the Wild Atlantic Way Discovery Points Remedial Works Guidelines, including the Ecological Method Statement.’
Sources of Information
1) Interview with Laura Foley
2) Interview with Geoff McGee
3) Review of OSi Discovery and Historical Maps
4) Online Research
Other Research and Facts
The sites at Kilcredaun are mostly on private land but can be visited by taking a tour with the Long Way Around walking company based in nearby Carrigaholt..
Category of Interest
phone: +353 (0) 864099624