A causeway linking it
to Portmagee, Valentia Island became connected to the mainland
in 1970. At the time my grandmother Bridget Murphy emigrated in
1880, there were 2,000 residents, but, today, only 600 remain.
Valentia Island, County Kerry, Ireland is seven miles long and
three miles wide and lies in the Gulf Stream. Due to the effect
of the Gulf Stream, Valentia Island, County Kerry, Ireland is
a haven for many kinds of sub-tropical plants. Wild rhododendrons
compete with the trees, while ferns and palms wave in the gentle
breeze. The goldfinch and robins bring a dazzling show of color
and the tiny wren defends its territory with song.
Valentia Island, County Kerry, Ireland is home to the first transatlantic
telegraph cable laid in 1858; it ran from America to Valentia
Island, County Kerrry, Ireland. Being a very small island, there
are only two villages: Knightstown and Chapeltown. My grandmother
was born in the townland of Ballyhearney West on January 15, 1865.
The Murphy cottage is no longer there, but the land stretches
as far as the eye can see, thorn bushes wrap themselves around
the stone fences, and the lazy blue sky dotted with white puffs
of clouds float overhead, much the same way they did in 1880,
the year Bridget Murphy left Valentia Island, County Kerry, Ireland
All the Irish on Valentia Island, County Kerry, Ireland suffered
tremendously from the landlords' greed. The years of the famine
were enough to kill the spirit, which caused many of the islanders
to emigrate to other parts of the world-those who survived the
famine. But in 1883, Government-assisted emigration occurred.
The British thought of a scheme to rid the island of the Irish.
Their plan was to clear the land of its residents, thus, saving
thousands of pounds, which would have been spent to maintain the
"miserable" Irish on their land. The British called
it "Free Emigration." The scheme to clear Valentia Island,
County Kerry, Ireland was to select whole families. It wasn't
permitted that any family members remain behind, even to leave
later for America.
And so it was that the Belgravia (5,000 tons) of the Anchor Line
on her way from Liverpool, entered Valentia Island, County Kerry,
Ireland to anchor there to take on board more than 800 men, women,
and children from the Barony of Iveragh, Valentia Island, County
Kerry, Ireland. From early morning all roads in Valentia Island,
County Kerry, Ireland led to the island harbor. On foot they traveled,
the emigrants with their poor luggage, with their many friends
to bid them a tearful farewell, many for the last time in this
world. In the Ballyhearney School in 1883 there were 220 students
on the roll. On the day the ship sailed from Valentia Island,
County Kerry, Ireland, there were fifty-six.
Valentia remains the same--an unspoiled legacy rich in heritage.
For those who trace their roots to Valentia Island, County Kerry,
Ireland, an informative Heritage Museum, located in Knightstown,
houses many historical journals and articles of interest all pertaining
to Valentia Island, County Kerry, Ireland.