Cahersiveen's most famous historic figure is undoubtedly Daniel O'Connell, who was born on 6 August 1775. His birthplace, Carahan, can be found just outside Cahersiveen to the left of the bridge as you enter the town from the Killarney side. A monument to Daniel O’ Connell can be found here overlooking his birthplace. It is convenient to stop here and read the plaques as the first stop on your trip around Cahersiveen.
In the centre of Cahersiveen you will find the Daniel O’Connel memorial church. Built between 1888 – 1902 this church is the most dominant feature/landmark in the town. It is one of the few catholic churches in the world dedicated to a lay person (Daniel O’ Connel) . It is constructed of Northern Irish granite (Co. Down) and built in a combination of Gothic revivalist and medieval style architecture. The laying of a marble slab which serves as the cornerstone took place in 1888. This marble block is very special as it was a gift from Pope Leo XIII sourced from the catacombs in Rome.
Buried in the grounds of the church are the remains of Monsignor Hugh O’ Flaherty whose heroic life is captured on the famous Gregory Peck Film “The Scarlet and the Black”.
Monsignor O’Flaherty (1898 – 1963) a Cahersiveen native was a Vatican diplomat during the second world war. During his time in the vatican O’Flaherty organised the concealment and escape of more than 5,000 people including Jews and prisoners of war from the German occupying forces without the knowledge or approval of his superiors.