That Deep Relationship with the Locale: Community and Place in Dún Chaoin, County Kerry

Document Type

Peer-Reviewed Article

Publication Date

Winter 2021


Psychologies are often rooted in and revealed through place and physical setting. The West Kerry Gaeltacht looms large in the Irish literary imagination: Tomás Ó Criomhthain, Peig Sayers, Muiris Ó Súilleabháin, Seán Ó Ríordáin, Pádraig Ó Cíobháin, Nuala Ní Dhomhnaill, Dairena Ní Chinnéide, Colm Breathnach, Éilís Ní Dhuibhne, not to mention Ryan's Daughter, Far and Away, Star Wars, and on and on. This particular landscape operates at a symbolic and cultural level far, far beyond what its population or material resources demand. But for those who live and work in this microcultural and linguistic sphere, the relationship is different. It is individualized, multi-seasonal, and generational. It is a lived experience rather than a textual or visual experience, grounded in memories and emotions rather than in Google maps.


Dáithí de Mórdha, an ethnologist and historian from County Kerry, is adjunct instructor in history and anthropology at Sacred Heart University in Dingle.