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In the small village of Waterville County Kerry there stands a statue of the silver screen legend Charlie Chaplin. It’s presence pays homage to a cinema superstar who made Waterville his regular holiday home in the 60’s and 70’s.
His family tradition became spring and summer trips to the Butler Arms Hotel in Waterville. The hotel became a major connection in these visits, and even today there is a lounge named in his honour.
Chaplin is one of the giants of cinema. Star of over 80 films and a founding member of United Artists, he built a studio and an empire on the strength of his infamous character The Tramp.
His time in Waterville involved long walks with his wife Oona O’Neill. Infamous fishing trips, horse back riding, sand yachting and a curious game called ‘roll the red’.
In 1952, Chaplin left the US for what was intended as a brief trip home to the United Kingdom. However US Immigration revoked Chaplin’s re-entry permit. It was at this point that made his home in Vevey, Switzerland.
In the 60’s and 70’s Chaplin grew to love Ireland. He would leave his home in Switzerland and travel to Waterville where he would retreat to fish the lakes around Church Island.
The most successful film star of his era found shelter and solace from the world on the edge of Europe, and the locals felt the need to honour his presence with a permanent statue on the sea front.
This is my tribute to him using two images I captured of the statue together with some “heavenly” magic courtesy of the NASA free image website and Photoshop 7!