Killarney Reproduction Chessmen.
Offered here is an accurate reproduction of the Killarney chessmen crafted from Argentine Lignum Vitae and Cocobolo. The King stands a statuesque 5” tall with a 1-1/2” diameter base. These magnificent Killarney Reproduction Chessmen use my proprietary brass weighting system for ballast and stability. Each of the chessmen is cushioned on a green baize base pad. The Kingside Rooks rest atop gold-embossed black English leather discs. This set is part of the Frank Camaratta Signature Series and is limited to a total production run of only 12 sets. These luxurious chessmen are best played and displayed on a chessboard with 2-1/4″ or 2-3/8″ squares. The original Killarney chessboard shown is not part of this sale, but may be purchased elsewhere on this site.
The original Killarney chessmen were turned from Arbutus and Yew woods. “Killarneyware” is the distinctive style of furniture and works of art produced in Killarney and the Gap of Dunloe during the mid-19th century. The use of Arbutus wood (i.e. the wood of the Strawberry Tree) is typical of Killarney. This close-grained wood had been highly valued for centuries in Ireland. Unfortunately, over time, these two woods became almost indistinguishable making the chessmen unsuitable for serious practical play. We chose a different species of exquisite exotic woods which will retain their beauty and sharp contrast with the passing of time. It has been suggested that the original Irish Killarney Chessmen were produced in Killarney from around 1850 until 1870. James Egan working from his workshop on Main Street in Killarney, Ireland, was known to have made the now famous Killarney chessboards. Although there is no rigorous association between his name and the Killarney chessmen, it is almost certain that he would have produced at least a few sets to complement his distinctive chessboards. Jeremiah O’Connor was a fierce rival of Egan. They both competed for and dominated the business of making Killarney Furniture in the 1860s. It is likely that O’Connor also produced a number of Killarney chessmen, although that assumption has never been proven.