Laced with narrow roads, Valentia is a beautiful and under-visited corner of Kerry with a rich and fascinating history. Its Latin-sounding name is actually an anglicised version of the Irish Béal Inse, meaning 'the mouth of the island' (a reference to the sheltered harbour entrance), though the Irish name of the island itself, Oileán Dairbhre, means 'island of oak trees'.
Valentia is renowned for its high-quality slate, which was first quarried here in 1816 – Valentia slate was used to roof London's Houses of Parliament and Westminster Cathedral, and Paris' Palais Garnier opera house. The quarry, abandoned in 1911, reopened in 1999 and produces slate objects including billiard tables.
The island measures just 11km long by 3km wide; Knightstown, at the eastern end of the island, is its only village.