Brightly painted houses line the streets of the small fishing village of Portmagee, once a haven for smugglers and pirates. The village is named after one of the most notorious smugglers of the 18th century, Captain Theobald Magee. The village is now South West Kerry's main fishing centre and is renowned for its traditional pubs and its unusual 'Old Year' festivities on New Year's Eve each year.
Close to town is the safe and secluded Reencaheragh Strand and nearby, Illaunloughan, a small island which was inhabited by monks in the early Christian times. Portmagee is the main departure point for boat trips to the Skelligs UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Portmagee (An Caladh in Irish) is a village in County Kerry, Republic of Ireland. The village is located on the west coast of Ireland, on Kerry's Iveragh peninsula. south of Valentia Island. The name in Irish means 'the ferry', referring to its purpose as a crossing point to the island. Access to Valentia Island is now via a bridge from Portmagee. The provenance of its English name however, is far less mundane.
Portmagee or Magee's Port, as it was known, is named after one of the most notorious smugglers of the 18th Century, a Captain Theobald Magee. Having served in the army of King James as an Officer, Magee 'retired' to a life of merchant shipping between France, Portugal and Ireland. Thanks to the intricately chisled coast around the South West, his trade in contraband spirits, textiles and tea and tobacco was extremely hard to police and therefore extremely profitable. He married Mrs. Bridget Morgell, the widow of a rich Dingle merchant and also the daughter of the then MP for County Kerry, Mr. Thomas Crosby.
Being related to the best smuggler in Ireland can't have sat too easily on Crosby's shoulders and there is some suspicion that Magee's death in a Lisbon monastery was due to some exile imposed by the powerful MP. However, his wife, and his sons continued the family business of smuggling.
The village also serves as a departure point for tourists travelling to visit 'Skellig Michael', an island off the coast featuring a 6th century monastic settlement.