Molly Gallivan's Cottage and Traditional Farm
County Kerry, Republic of Ireland
from Walking in Ireland
ABOVE: Stephen O'Sullivan of Molly Gallivan's poses with a decommissioned whiskey still. INSET BELOW: Dried turf from the farm's peat bog.
Molly Gallivan's Cottage and Traditional Farm lets visitors "experience the simple lifestyle in rural Ireland before the days of electricity and modern conveniences." The privately owned historic site was once owned and farmed by Molly Gallivan, a widow with seven children who supported her family through subsistence farming, the sale of farm produce, and--most important of all--a Sibheen or illegal pub that served homemade whiskey.
The 200-year-old cottage and farm are in Releigh, a village in the Bonane valley of County Kerry. The large stone cottage by the roadside was occupied by one of Molly Gallivan's descendents until 1997; today, it functions as a visitor center, museum shop, and tearoom, with the rooms upstairs furnished as they were in earlier times.
After you've bought a ticket and explored the cottage, you'll be invited to watch a 12-minute video about Molly Gallivan and Irish rural life in a theatre which is housed in one of the outbuildings. Next, you can walk the 500-meter path through the farm, where--among other things--you'll see Molly Gallivan's poitin or moonshine still, a ruined house from the time of the Irish Potato Famine, and a turf bog that still supplies peat for the cottage hearth. The farm also has a pair of Neolithic stones that are part of the valley's ancient sun calendar.
Special events: For groups, Molly Gallivan's will present an "American Wake" that recreates the farewell parties for emigrating Irish families in the 19th Century. The event includes a tour of the farm, a traditional Irish rural meal, and interaction with costumed actors and musicians who portray the emigrants, family, and neighbors.
How to reach Molly Gallivan's: If you're driving the N71 road between Glengarriff and Kenmare or Killarney, you'll find the cottage and farm just north of the tunnels through the Caha Mountains on the border with County Cork.
In the neighborhood: The nearby Bonane Heritage Park has monuments from the time of the druids and a 1,500-year-old ring fort. If you're staying in Glengarriff and don't want to drive, you can book a half-day Beara Heritage & Archaelogical Tour that includes guided visits to Molly Gallivan's, the Bonane Heritage Park, and the Bullaun Stone or "Rolls of Butter" in Garranes. E-mail [email protected] for details.
For more information on Molly Gallivan's and Bonane, visit:
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