Locals plan to rebuild 50ft monument near Kerry village

Locals plan to rebuild 50ft monument near Kerry village

A full scale model of one of North Kerry's most historic monuments, which was destroyed more than 60 years ago by Kerry County Council, is to be constructed near the village of Lixnaw.

A 50ft high mausoleum made of black limestone was erected in 1690 by the 20th Lord of Kerry, William Fitzmaurice, at a burial site for the Fitzmaurice clan members.

It stood on top of Killbinane Hill, near Lixnaw, until 1958 when it was dynamited to smithereens by Kerry County Council, who wanted to use the stone for road building.

Now a local heritage and historical group headed by Pat Joe Gilbert has drawn up a plan to restore the historic structure in a new park to be built in Lixnaw by Irish Water, which is installing a water treatment system.

Mr Gilbert said, "The Fitzmaurices could not have picked a better site for their mausoleum. Killbinane Hill holds panoramic views of the whole central basin of North Kerry, with a view stretching from Kerry Head on the West to Cnoc an Oir on the North, near Ballybunion and the Stacks Mountains on the South."

Mr Gilbert said the tower crypt had two doors, one of which was a blind door, which blended in with the wall surface.

He said, "The other door could be opened to allow for an interment and could be sealed. The wooden coffins were enclosed in shrouds. Bone from human remains have been found over the years around the crypt."

Kerry County Council, he said, commenced quarrying in the area in the mid-1950s.

"On a damp September day in 1958, explosives were laid all around the base of the monument but the explosives would not detonate as they got wet. However, new cables were brought from Tralee and later that evening the whole monument went up. As it turned out the stone was useless for road building as the black limestone was not strong enough," Mr Gilbert said.

Local businessman, Frank Quilter said they should have no difficulty raising money as there is tremendous support for the project locally.

He said: "We have detailed photographs taken before the mausoleum was demolished and we plan to build it in a new park which will be laid out as part of a new Irish Water facility. We intend to have it built to the same measurements of the original mausoleum which stood 15.25m, approximately 50ft high with the internal diameter of 8.2 meters, approximately 27 ft. The Fitzmaurice families, Lords of Kerry were established in Lixnaw as early as 1250 and the family held sway in North Kerry for over 500 years."

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