Valentia Island, County Kerry, Ireland

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 for America.

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.

Additional Sources
    Table of Contents
  Irish Genealogy
  Immigrant Experience
  - Castle Gardens, New York
  - Ellis Island, New York
  Cahersiveen, County Kerry, Ireland
  Valentia, County Kerry, Ireland
  Boyle, County Roscommon, Ireland
  Irish Potato Famine
  Murphy Family
  Shea Family
  Healy Family
  Beirne Family
  Irish Family Research - Supplement
  Emigration - Queenstown, County Cork, Ireland
 
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