The Nine Daughter’s Hole | Ballybunion, Co Kerry

The Nine Daughters’ Hole is a natural, geological blowhole found on the cliffs of Ballybunion, Kerry. It is not alone in North Kerry, with others – less well known – in the area. Poulaphuca (gaelic: Poul na Púca – Hole of the Shapeshifter) in Kilconly South, some 4km/2.5mls north-northeast is larger, but not as photogenic. Another larger blowhole can be found in the townland of Clashmealcon near Causeway.

There is no reference to The Nine Daughters’ Hole until the early 20th century. Thomas Johnson Westropp wrote in ‘The Journal of the Royal Society of Antiquaries of Ireland’ in 1912: “In it [the field on the cliff] is a deep pit called Poulannineen, ‘{Hole} of the daughter,’ probably from some forgotten tragedy; it has at least three arches to admit the sea.”

The Anglicised name on the Ordinance Survey map of 1834 reads, ‘Poulnanneen’. The translation could be:
The Nine Daughter’s Hole – Poll Naoi Iníon
The Hole of the Daughter – Poll An Inión
The Hole of the infants – Poll Na Naíonáin

There is a story where the nine daughters of a local chieftan fell in love with nine invading Vikings, and planned to elope and get married. The chieftan threw his daughters and the vikings into the blowhole and they drowned. At times the story changes to Normans instead of Vikings and just the daughters are slain and not their lovers.

Source | Bryan Morse

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