Irish Palatine Centre

Published in Early Modern History (1500–1700), Issue 1 (Spring 2000), News, Volume 8

In 1709 several hundred families of German origin settled in Ireland. Known as the Palatines, they established roots mainly in Counties Limerick, Kerry, Tipperary and Wexford. From there they emigrated to many parts of the English-speaking world—Australia, Canada, England, New Zealand and the USA.
Since its inception in March 1989, the Irish Palatine Association has been promoting all aspects of Irish Palatine culture: a museum, library and archive have been established. Furthermore a link has been forged between the ancestral German homeland of the Palatines (die Pfalz) and those of Palatine origin internationally. The Irish Palatine Centre, Rathkeale, County Limerick, offers guided tours, not only of its museum, but also of original Palatine settlements in the locality—Ballingrane, Courtmatrix and Killeheen. The tour not only introduces the visitor to this story in Irish history but also relates it to such ever-relevant topics as prejudice, poverty, religious intolerance and the ability of people to overcome adversity. Attractions include: the Embury and Heck Memorial Methodist Church at Ballingrane, named after two Palatine natives of the area who helped spearhead the advance of Methodism in the USA; Castle Matrix, home of Lord Thomas Southwell who first settled the Palatines in Ireland, now restored and containing a collection of artefacts associated with its history, along with an extensive library on heraldry and art with many rare books and etchings; an archaeological site of an old Wesleyan chapel at Killeheen, a Palatine well with stone stairway leading underground and the remains of an old cider press. A variety of packages including some or all of the above is available. Advance booking is necessary.
Enquiries: (069) 64397, ipass@tinet.ie

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