Birthplace of Daniel O'Connell near Cahirciveen on the market

The birthplace of Daniel O'Connell, outside Cahirciveen, Co Kerry, is for sale.

The birthplace of Daniel O'Connell, outside Cahirciveen, Co Kerry, is for sale.

Though most visitors to Kerry will be familiar with Derrynane House and gardens between Waterville and Sneem, where O'Connell spent much of his time, his actual birthplace is about 15 miles away at Carhan, just beside Cahirciveen.

The house at Carhan where "The Liberator" was born on August 6th, 1775, is now a ruin. It is being put on the market by his descendants, a local family of O'Connells.

No guide price is being given for the property and more than one acre on the banks of the Carhan river. A family spokesperson said the house was thought to be "very valuable" because of its historic connections.


A public park has been created in front of the property, a new bridge has been erected and a bust of O'Connell now gazes at the old family homestead. There are options to buy additional land with Carhan and it has already been advertised on the US market, according to a spokesman at auctioneers McQuinn Property Services in Tralee.

There is some local surprise that the house has gone on the market, sparking fears of a situation where private individuals, rather than the State, would buy historic properties.

While O'Connell was born at Carhan, the eldest of 10 children of Cahirciveen general merchant and small landowner Morgan O'Connell, he spent most of his life in the home of his uncle at Derrynane. That house, which O'Connell later inherited, is now restored and part of a national park.

The State is now being urged to buy Carhan. Mr Paul O'Donoghue, brother of the Minister for Justice, said: "Carhan House is of immense historic importance locally and nationally. The State should buy it and the OPW restore it to its former glory. They should not lose this opportunity."

A previous attempt by public bodies to buy the property fell through. In 1986 Mr John O'Donoghue - like O'Connell a lawyer, a politician and a Cahirciveen man - moved a motion at Kerry County Council asking it to acquire the property.

The house is on the draft list - not yet ratified by the council - of historic properties being drawn up by planners and heritage officers to be submitted to Duchas under the National Inventory of Architectural Heritage. The family said they would have no objection to the State purchasing Carhan. However, it would have to do so at the market value.