Kilbaha is the very last village on the Loop Head peninsula – tucked into a small, sheltered bay at the western edge of the Shannon Estuary. Looking south across the river, the village enjoys arresting views of Kerry Head and the Brandon Mountains.
Around the headland from the pier, and visible as you approach the village from the east, is a castellated turret, built by the Keane family for the Victorian ladies to enjoy the view. The ruins of the Keane home stand nearby on the top of the hill.
The village’s small but wonderfully picturesque pier was built in the early 19th century to cater for the large numbers of people making their living from fishing, seaweed gathering and piloting the large ships going up the Shannon to the Limerick docks. It was also used by cargo vessels bringing supplies to Loop Head lighthouse, four miles west of the village. Look out for the memorial to five local men, who drowned when piloting a ship along this coastline in 1873.
Kilbaha is also the home of the famous Little Ark – a curious story well worth discovering:
In the 19th century the landlords of Loop Head refused permission for the building of a Catholic Church on their land. So instead, locals built The Little Ark – a wooden box containing an altar which was rolled onto the beach at low tide, allowing Catholics to practice their faith. Today you can visit the Little Ark at the Star of the Sea Church in the village.