Kerry Writers’ Museum is currently embarking on an exciting project entitled Kerry Songs of Revolution which will explore the tradition of ballad writing in Kerry as intangible folk ‘monuments’ to the deceased. The project will specifically focus on ballads commemorating historical events in Kerry as part of the Decade of Commemorations.

The association of musicians and songwriters with nationalist views has a very long tradition throughout Ireland going as far back to the Elizabeth conquest. The first of the republican songs date back to the United Irishmen Rebellion of 1798. The ballad has carried the stories of the cause of Irish Freedom in every decade, and no more so than in County Kerry.


Kerry Songs of Revolution involves an in-depth study of ballads connected with events in County Kerry and Kerry people involved in the Irish struggle elsewhere during the period 1916 to 1924. These include Thomas Ashe, The O’Rahilly and the Drumboe Martyrs. Research will include identifying all ballads, exploring the stories behind the ballad and the compilation of photographic and other materials connected to the stories. This will be gathered together in the production of an exhibition. The lyrics and associated story for each ballad identified will be published in book format and they will also recorded by local singers to be made available in CD format as part of the exhibition and beyond (publication and recording subject to copyright laws). The exhibition will initially be on displayed at Kerry Writers’ Museum but will also be made available to museums, heritage centres and libraries throughout the County.

We are currently finalizing the Kerry Songs of Revolution project which will be available from December 2018.  The project is supported by the Department of Culture, Heritage & the Gaeltacht under the Regional Museums Exhibition Scheme 2018.