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Kerry and the Tramp

The untold story of Charlie Chaplin and his connection with Waterville, Co Kerry and Ireland - a relationship that lasted nigh on two decades.

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4.2/5 (97 ratings)

Documentary maker: Garret Daly

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Documentary maker: Liam O'Brien

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Kerry and the Tramp

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. This documentary tells the story of how the Little Tramp ended up in love with this Kerry retreat.

Featuring an exclusive interview with his actress daughter Geraldine Chaplin, she explains how the 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.

This documentary charts the story of Charlie Chaplin in Waterville. Erik Murphy and Margaret O’Connor describe unique encounters with the man, giving a rare insight into the private time spent while he was holiday.

In the documentary we examine how the most successful film star of his era found shelter and solace from the world on the edge of Europe, and why the locals of this era felt the need to honour his presence with a permanent statue on the sea front - and a new film festival taking place in August 2011.

Narrated and Produced by Garret Daly.

Production Supervision by Liam O'Brien


First broadcast on RTÉ Radio 1 on Saturday 23rd July 2011 @ 2pm

An Irish radio documentary from RTÉ Radio 1, Ireland - Documentary on One - the home of Irish radio documentaries.

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