Waterville is a busy village situated on Ballinskelligs Bay which is on the world renowned Ring of Kerry. There are two supermarkets, a chemist and other shops, petrol stations and several fine restaurants.
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The village rose to prominence in the 1880’s when an American telecom company laid two undersea cables across the Atlantic connecting North America with Europe - all routed through this station in Waterville. The purpose was to break the then virtual monopoly of the existing line to Valentia Island and thus bring down the prices. To this end The Commercial Cable Company was formed in 1884 and its fine logo is visible on the outside of The Cable Station. Siemens in Germany produced some 2,399 miles of cable for the job, and the town rapidly expanded to cater for an influx of some 300 techies and their families, building fine new homes along the Promenade - even eventually constructing a golf links.
The cable station in Waterville relayed its last message in 1962.
The connection, known as the Mackay – Bennett line after its owners, was laid and serviced by a specially designed ship of the same name, which famously happened to be working in the vicinity of the Titanic on that fateful night, and undertook the unenviable assignment of gathering up bodies adrift in the ocean after the disaster.
There is a permanent exhibition of Waterville’s place in the history of the Transatlantic Submarine Cable at the nearby Tech Amergin art centre. In the summer there are walking tours of the village taking in all the important landmarks.
Waterville was a favourite holiday spot of Charlie Chaplin and his family who used to stay in the Butler Arms Hotel. They first visited the town in 1959 and came back every year for over ten years. There is now an annual Charlie Chaplin Comedy Festival in the village durring the month of August.