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Killarney VistaKerry map

Abstracts from

"The Ancient and Present State of the County of Kerry"

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KNIGHT Elkanagh wrote journal on the Siege of Tralee wars of 1641. (There is a long tract on this).

KING Giles one of first burgesses Tralee QE1.

KENAN Nicholas, Bishop of Ardfert and Aghadre 1588 who retired to Limerick to avoid the war and was never heard of again.

KENMARE Lord, Estate Killarney. (Several references).

LAW Thomas. Lislaghtin Friary granted at Dissolution to James SCOLLS, who assigned it to Law. Didn't pay rent -seized by Crown and ultimately leased to Henry ROSE of Dublin.

LUCY Sir Anthony, arrested Earl of DESMOND 1330.

LESLEY, Rev. Dr.Bishop of Limerick - Tarbert Estate.

LACEY Pierce attempted capture of William FitzGERALD, Knight of Kerry 1600. The knight being prepared, slew the Chiefs O'KELLY and MacCOSTELOGH.

Lawrence HENRY, English Catholic and spy, with furlow from Captain Ferritor at Carigorafeely - "I have employed this gentleman Mr Henry Lawrence ... for the furthering of Catholicism, to go to Tralee and Castlemain or at the camp, wherefore I pray the Irish and English not to molest him in body or goods" (8 February 1642). "Pierce FERRITER".

LYNN Francis MP for County 1661 with Sir Arthur DENNY, John BLENNERHASSET.

LATOUCH Mr. Proprietor of a copper mine near Muckross (1756).

LEESER John, one of first Burgesses Tralee QE1.

LAWLER Irish Captain who burned house of Lord KERRY near Ardfert 1641.

MORIARTY ancienly possessed middle Kerry (with SULLIVANs, southern parts). Built Castle Drum (although others say it was the MURRIEs, an English family) - in ruins 1756. 1583 - in capture EARL OF DESMOND - " distress for provisions he (Desmond) sent trustly servants over Tralee Strand towards Castlemain to take cattle. But a poor woman named Moriarty whose stock were all taken repaired to her brother Owen O Moriarty .... he resolved to recover the cows. The English Governor of Castlemain obtained musketeers ... and followed the cattle tracks. They came that night to a small wood four miles from Tralee ... attacked the Earl and struck off his head. The family of Moriarty are still (1756) in disgrace among the Irish for the death of this unfortunate Earl".

(Fitz)MAURICE References on 38 pages. The Norman Raymond CRASSUS (also known as LE GROSSE) granted a considerable tract of land to his son Maurice, whose descendants used his name.

(O)MAHONY Mr. "The floors of his castle (Dunlow) on the River Lane or Laune, and of the adjacent house are built of very fine planks of yew. These noble trees grew in great plenty hereabouts but are now almost all destroyed".

MORRICE family, descent from John Morrice of Northal, Essex.

MORRIS Mr, house at Ballybeggan 2 miles east by north of Tralee (1756). "In Ballybeggan House stood a handsome grotto done up like an alter-piece, covered with crystals ...". Samuel Morris MP Tralee 1703, with Arthur Hide (Morrice/Morris may be one and same).

MULLENS Col. Frederick, settled at Burnham near Dingle - exchanged lands in England after wars of 1640's. William Mullens, Patron Dunqueen Church 1756 - owned tithes Killagh 1756. Seat was Burnham, formerly called Ballingolin near Dingle, which was a castle formerly belonging to Rice Family before 1641.(Other miscellaneous references).

MEREDITH Richard - estate near Tralee 1756.

(O)MAILLY Owen 1602. After defeat of Spaniards at Kinsale, Sir Chalres WILMOT entered Kerry with cavalry and foot. Captain TYRREL, Hugh MacSWINEY, Owen
O MAILY, Rorie O CONNOR, Phelim O CONNOR, Gerald FitzMAURICE and followers resisted.

MAUL Thomas MP Tralee 1639.

MALONE Edward MP Ardfert 1743.

MOLLYNEUX Sir Thomas, wrote tracts on plants of Kerry.

MURPHY Mr (re road between Blackwater and Killarney). "The principal undertaker is Mr Murphy, a man who by the mere dint of genius has extremely well executed several new roads here and taught others to do the like ... through very difficult and almost impracticable bogs and mountains. He first marks out the new road ... cuts trenches both sides, which by the next season renders the middle firmer and dryer. In all soft places great stones are laid and a quantity of clay. The road is raised highest in the middle and slopes towards the trenches ...".

MULLENS (cont) "A few years ago several corslets of pure gold were discovered on the lands of Clonties near a small chapel which the Spaniards had erected ... part of which came to the share of William Mullens Esq, on whose estate they were found by the country people as they were trenching potatoes. The country people say that the Spaniards had buried the Pope's consecrated banner near this place."

(O)NEIL family. Several minor references.

NEWCOMMEN Sir Beveley MP Tralee 1635.

NAVARRE Captain who burned Tralee 1685.

ORPIN (or ORPEN, ORPHEN) family occupied Ardfully, traditionally the religious house called Abbey of Oriel. Richard Orpen published treatise - "The Jew Detected - A true discovery by what tricks the ship Laurell was cast away in the Kenmare ... the Motives" (1694). The reason was an examination by Jacob MYERS, a Jew asserting that the Laurell was plundered by contrivances of Orphen. Orphen also published "Losses Sustained by the Protestants of Kenmare" (1689). Orpen - agent for Lady PETLY 1685, who fortified Kilowen House, "assisted by 150 of the natives who lived among them". "These works being finished, they all voluntarily entered into an association and swore to stand by each other ... under the government of Mr Orphen, 1689, - which much disgusted the neighbouring Irish who vowed revenge against Mr Orphen because that, before these troubles, he had brought many to justice for murder and robberies". Orphen and followers fled to Bristol, arriving destitute, to be relieved by the "Commissioners for distributing assistance to the distressed sufferers from Ireland".

OUTLAW Roger, Lord Justice of Ireland c. 1330 (yes, really!).

OSBORNE Henry MD Tralee 1639.

PHAIR Colonel Governor of Cork 1650 who marched forces to prevent Lord INCHIQUIN from raising men in Kerry who had quitted the republican interest - took Kilmurry Castle and carried away large numbers of cattle.

PETTY Sir William "by his employment in surveying the forfeited estates after the 1641 rebellion, acquired an estate of 6000 pounds per annum, and could, from Mangerton Mountain behold 50,000 acres of his own lands - which brought such odium upon him that he published a book to show the unreasonableness thereof ....". 1670 "Before the wars of Ireland (in King James' time) broke out the Irish by the encouragement of the government, committed divers outrages upon the English Protestants of this County, particularly on a colony planted by Sir William Petty in 1670 at Kilowen, at the (cost) of 10,000 pounds. These people were employed upon ironworks and a fishery and contributed very much ... to improve this uncultivated part of the County".

POWER/LE POER several miscellaneous references, including Henry Power Viscount Valentia 1620.

PURCELL Theobald MP Ardfert 1695.

PLUNKETT c. 1690 husband of Lady KENMARE.

PONSONBY family of Crotto, with some family history and descent. From Whitehaven, Cumberland. Settled after wars of 1641.

PRESTON Sir Richard granted title Earl of DESMOND 1620, but he drowned 1628 so George FIELDING got it.

RICE family, descended from Stephen Rice of Dingle time of QE1. The name is akin to PRICE (ap RHYS). Some family history included on 10 pages. Also mentions Peter and James Price of Waterford 15th Century. Edward Rice of Kerry forfeited his lands time of James. He says that, at Dingle several of the houses were build in the Spanish fashion, with stone balcony windows - "This place being formerly much frequented by ships of that nation" - "On one is an inscription signifying it was built by one Rice in 1563 and on a stone is carved - "At the Rose is the Best Wine". In a gravestone in the churchyard at Dingle: "Stephen Rice lies here, late Knight of parliament, a happy life full fourscore years virtuously he spent. His loyal wife Ellen TRANT who died five years before him lies here also Lord grant them life for ever more 1622. Huic succurre tuis votis Pia Mater Jesu Insuper adde tuas Lector amice Preces". This Stephen Rice was ancestor to Sir Stephen Rice, an eminent actor in the troubles of 1688.

ROPER Christopher MP Dingle 1639 with Sir George BLUNDELL.

(O)SCANLON Sept descended from the Kingdom Ciar, with the O CONNORs (he says).

(O)SULLIVAN, occupied southern Kerry, the Baronry of Dunkerron being called Sullivan's country, of which he had the title "Prince". Also had large possessions in Iveragh (as did MacREHANs, a branch of the family). Possessed Kilmakaloge, Littur Castle. Tomes, seat of O Sullivan More.

Near Ballinskellig is a spot called Englishman's Garden where about 20 English were interred. They belonged to Sir Edward DENNY who put into the bay and demanded victuals. Request complied with. One SEGERSON, English Catholic left hostage with Denny. When the time came to go on-shore to collect provisions, ambused by Irish - ringleader was O'Sullivan. At Dingle, small castle erected 1641 by Captain O'Sullivan. 1570 - O Sullivan More's alliance with McCARTY MORE and the MacSWINEYs for invastion of Lord Roche's terrtory. 1577 O Sullivan Beare's arrangement to return to Bearhaven from France. 1584 after death of DESMOND ..."The Irish submitted and became good subjects" - Sir John PERRET made Lord Deputy and gave charge of the County of Desmond to Sir Owen O Sullivan, O Sullivan More etc. Peace secured with hostages - English undertakers settled forfeited estates of Desmond. 1588 - imprisonment of O Sullivan More by O Neil for acting against Florence McCARTY. 1601 - Spanish fleet arrived Castlehaven, defect of Irish. Chief persons in revolt in Kerry, including O Sullivan More, son John O CONNOR KERRY, who later betrayed Carrigfoile Castle and gave it up to Spaniards who slaughtered garrison. (There are detailed references of 24 pages on the O Sullivan's and their importance to the history of Kerry.

SANDES Lancelot, estate granted 1667 near Carrigfoile Castle.

SPRING family, settled time of QE1, from Lavenham, Suffolk. First was Captain Thomas Spring, Governor of Castlemaine 1641. Some family history included.

SANKEY Colonel Hierome. Commanded Regiment of Horse in wars of 1600's. 1667 - he had 7,851 plantation acres granted including burgess lands of Tralee. - "None had greater complaints made against him for ill treatment of his men. For several of the lands that were allotted to them, he got to be left out of his (grant) in order to oblige the Irish, who paid him well for it, and put in other lands which were not given, in satisfaction of their arrears and thus he wronged many innocent Irish as well as his own people". Irish lands forfeited to Sankey included those of Nicholas WALSH, Patrick MacELLISTRUM, Roger CONRY, Brian CONNOR, Dominick ROCH.

STOUGHTON Anthony. Patron 1756 Disert Church, and Galy; and impropriator of several rectories. MP Ardfert 1639 with David CROSBIE. Some family history included.

SUPPLE James owned Prospect Hall at Castle Lough, Killarney (1756).

STACK family. Bishop Stack died 1488, tomb Ardfert Cathedral. William Stack, Archbishop Ardfert c. 1420. Maurice Stack, invited to dine with Lady KERRY at Beale (1600) - she asked to speak with him privately in her chamber, where after disagreement she cried out to ruffians at the door who murdered him. The following day Lord Kerry had Thomas Stack, his prisoner hung. There are 9 pages with Stack references.

(O)SHEEHY brought into Kerry as lifeguards c. 1420. Morietagh Sheehy headed 100 men hunted by WILMOT near Tralee 1600. They escapted minus 60 to Slieverish Mountain.

(Mac)SWINEY family. Invaded Lord ROCHE's country 1570. Gowran MacSwiney Captain of Gallowglasses (mercenaries) 1585. Hugh MacSwiney, one of those assembled against English 1602.

SOUTHWELL elected Tralee 1743.

STILES, one of the first Burgesses, Tralee QE1.

TULL not a Kerry family but - "The soil (Iraghticonnor) is naturally so rich in most places that it would want but very little manure to bring it to produce corn, providing it was properly opened according to Mr Tull's horse-hoeing method....". (Jethro Tull b. 1674, Berkshire, published Horse-Hoeing Husbandry, which described advantages of hoeing crops grown in rows.

THURLSTON Lawrence, gaoler of Tralee who with his wife, sister and Edward HALE were stripped naked by the Irish. Thurlston and Hale hung next day. The women escaped, still quite naked (1642).

VAUCLEERE one of first Burgeses of Tralee QE1.

VERDON Mr. Owned (1756) Carrignifely near Tralee.

WHITE Peter, Provost of Tralee 1640's who put the town in defence readiness - went in seek of cattle - got cut off and fled to Cork with Lord KERRY.

WREN family, settled in Kerry after wars of 1641, Captain Thomas Wren being an Adventurer under Cromwell. Descended from Wren's of Billey-Hall and Binchester, Co. Durham. Large account of family published before 1756 ..... "Parentalla or Memoirs of the Family of the Wren's", which includes Sir Christopher Wren. Kerry branch outlined in Smith's book (1756). Seat was Littur, which in 1756, was occupied by John Wren. (It had been forfeited by the O CONNORs). (Some family history included, but I think there may be better ones since).

WILMOT Sir Charles led English forces into Kerry 1600 etc. His actions and that of the Irish are detailed over many pages of war history.

YOUNG Andrew MP Ardfert 1703, with Henry Rose.

On Longevity, Liquor and a Young Wife

"Of Mr Daniel MacCARTY who died in February 1751, in the 112th year of his age (but I think he could not have been near so old, for I saw him but two years before his death, when he seemed much younger). He lived during his whole life in the Barony of Iveragh and buried four wives; he married a fifth, and she but a girl of 14, by whom he had several children. He was always a very healthy man, no cold ever affecting him, and he could not bear the warmth of a shirt at night, but put it under his pillow. He drank for many of the last years of his life, great quantities of rum and brandy, which he called "the naked truth", and if in compliance to other gentllemen, he drank claret or punch, he always took an equal quantity of spirits to qualify these liquors; this he called " a wedge".

No Person ever saw him spit. His custom was to walk 8 or 10 miles on a winter's morning over mountains with greyhounds and finders, and he seldom failed to bring home a brace of hares. He was an innocent man and inherited the social virtues of the ancient Milesians. He was of a florid complexion ... for his use of spiritous liquors was prodigious, a custom that much prevails in these Baronies ....."

Found on Another Site

"Daniel Micarte wandering and begging was punished. Passport to the Parish of Isle and Carye in the Co. of Kerry, Ireland, where he was born and last dwelt"
(Reigster Vagrants, Salisbury, Wilts, 1635).

On Inland Navigation Etc.

"It would be a most useful work to the town of Killarney, if this river was rendered navigable for small vessells of 30 or 40 tons; a work, which from the slender observations ... might be executed by means of one or two locks, at a charge of about 2000 pounds, a sum which, if the whole was expended, would fall lightly on the several gentlemen, whose estates are washed by this river". (This man sure writes long sentences.) To continue "The lough and the town of Killarney, together with the company engaged in the adjacent mines, all ought to share in .... the undertaking.

By navigation of the Lane, copper ore might be conveyed to the ship entirely by water and excellent sea-sand be brought from Killorglin, for manuring adjacent lands. A great part of corn consumed hereabouts is brought from the country near Dingle at a great distance, by land carriage; that part of the country which is there convenient to the sea-sand .. which is found to be a better manure than lime.

Killarney would then become a kind of sea-port ... The English iron ore could become cheaper to the foundary, and the cast-iron be easier transmitted to any sea-port in the Kingdom....".

Kerry 1756 - Water Quality

"Dr Short endeavours to prove, in his observations of mortality, that places where the softest and sweetest waters abound are not the healthiest, as is geneally imagined. But the harder waters strained through hard ironstone (etc) .... soft waters carry too much of that earthy matter that pass through our bodies, and occasion either a lentor in the blood or obstructions in some of the smaller vessels. The waters of this county are not soft towards the southern parts, few which flow from mountain springs, lather readily in soap. Those of the Northern Baronies are much softer, and more proper for bleaching linen....

If every prudent physician would carefully examine the waters where he resides, he might pracrtice more to the satisfaction of ... his patients."

He goes on to say that hard water makes the best beer, and drink made from it "neither oppresses the stomach, binds up the belly, but passes readily by urine."


In the 1630's several schemes were attempted to promote trade in Kerry.

A typical consignment of goods, usually transported to Spain from the Port of Dingle included:

Tanned hides, calves-skins, butter and tallow, salted beef, bacon, salmon, dried hake fish, stockings, wheat.

A Note On Justice

In 1732 John Fitzmaurice was high sherriff, and held his court on Rainbow Bridge, over the River Inny, Iveragh Barony. We went about the country with two running footmen, clothed in white, with black caps dressed with red ribbons. Four grooms led four horses with their tails and manes dressed with roses of red ribbons. A page in scarlett laced with silver, his sword hanging in a broad shoulder belt of crimson velvet covered with silver lace on a horse with reins of green silk intermixed with gold; and two trumpeters in green laced with silver. Twelve livery-men dressed in the families' colours, mounted on black horses, ornamented with gilt - (and so on) - all followed by the gentlemen of the County and a cavalcade of 35 from Fitzmaurice's own stable.

But, all this pomp and gallantry came to nowt as it rained heavily and they had to march in heavy rain to Listowell, through muddy roads. At Listowell they dined on 120 dishes, courtesy of Fitzmaurice - but briefly, for word came that the Feal was rising quickly so they went back in the rain, while it was fordable and got muddy and wet again.

The Weather 1745

"From Monday 25 February 1745 it snowed more or less until Friday afternoon ... and the snow was twenty inches thick on the ground, which continued without alteration until the first week of April, at which time it thawed quickly, and caused great floods. This had a dreadful effect on the cattle, as the winter had been so open, that people did not husband their hay, and no grass was to be seen for above a month. But what was worse to the farmers, many of their cattle .. fell into disorders after the thaw, when they began to eat the fresh grass, of which, numbers of them died."

"Mr Morris preserved his cattle (as follows) - while the ground was covered (with snow) he observed several branches of Scotch fir trees to break with the weight of the snow .... he observed some horses, eating the tops of the branches .... The next day he had the trees pruned, and therefore had sufficient at the time of the thaw."

Kerry 1756

On Learning

"Concerning the genius of the common people of this country, which leads them to a knowledge of classical learning .... I have in my survey met with some good Latin scholars who did not understand the English tongue, particularly one Peter Kelly, who lived in a very uncultivated part of the county, called Ballybog. Greek is also taught in some of the mountainous parts, generally by persons who pick it up .... at some English School. Neither is the genius confined to this kind of learning alone, for I saw a poor man near Blackstones, who had a tolerable notion of calculating the epacts, golden number, dominical letter, the moon's phases and even eclipses, although he had never been taught to read English."

Education In Kerry

In an account of 1803 ...."During the summer season it is usual for itinerant teachers to open a school on each plow-land, under a ditch, covered with heath and furze, to which the wretched inhabitants send their naked, starving children to learn reading, writing and accounts. On the approach to winter the school breaks up and the master is entertained by the occupiers, each in turn. Price for instruction is about 2s per quarter and which, in general, they are not able to pay. The books in which children are taught to read, are generally of the most objectionable kind, being such romances and histories of prolifigate and daring adventures as have been handed down from generation .... and must contribute to cherish an unsettled spirit, irreconceivable to the habits of order and industry."

There was in Castleisland 13 schools in 1824, some held in Catholic Chapels. Some of the pupils were learning the Bible in Greek. Some of the teachers: KEARIN ,Daniel; CASEY Patrick; NOLAN Charles; HARTNETT, Michael; REILLY Patrick; BAYLEY Francis; DEVINE James BROSNAN John; HORAN Timothy.

By 1834 reading, writing, arithmetic and needlework was being taught and some teachers at that period were SCOTT Will; FOREHAM Matthias, CAREY John; PENDRILL Edmund; BRAMBER John; RILEY Patrick, HARES Timothy; SULLIVAN Owen; McAULIFF Darby;; BURNETT Hugh; ROCHE Edmund; NOWLAN John;; COLLINS Patrick; HAYES Edmund; KILYHAN Sylvester.

A Note On Agriculture

"In the mountains of Slievelogher and other parts of this county, towards the end of June, or beginning of July, the country people cut the coarse mountain grass called by them Fenane and save it as they do hay, which proves an excellent winter fodder for cows. Towards August the grass grows white, hard and firm, and then loses all it sap; it also then grows loose at the roots, and is blown about by the wind, and no cattle will touch it. But in June it is full of sap and makes no bad hay .... and this kind of husbandry has also another great advantage, the increasing of dung for manuring corn, and the potato ground, which in some measure contributes to the support of the dairyman also.

"....Since the culture of potatoes has been known in Ireland, which was not before the beginning of the last century, Sir Walter Raleigh being the person who introduced them .... the herdsmen find small dry spots (in the bogs) to plant out sufficient quantity .... for their substance, whereby considerable tracts of these mountains are grazed and inhabited, which could not be done if the herdsman had only corn to subsist upon." "Some of the inhabitants have produced tolerable specimins of poetry, not only in their native language, but also in English...."

Kerry 1756

As some of the terms used in Smith's accounts (and others) may be unfamiliar, here are some descriptions:

ADVENTURER - a person who subscribed (ie "advanced" a sum of money to equip an army to suppress the uprising of 1641, on condition they would be granted confiscated land.

EPONYMOUS ANCESTOR - the individual from whom the family name was taken.

ERENAGH - Lay lord whose family held the office and church property from generation to generation.

GALLOWGLASS - heavily armed mercenary, usually of Scottish origin.

UNDERTAKER - an Englishman (usually) who, on condition of getting a grant of land confiscated from the Irish, undertook to plant English or Scottish settlers on it.

DESMOND - ancient territory including Kerry and much of Cork.

MUSKERRY - north west and central Cork.

PALATINES - families from the Palatinate of the Rhine who settled in Limerick County early 18th Century.

That's it! We hope you found something of interest. As our prefaced warning indicated, it was the Protestant ascendancy that was "politically correct" when Smith wrote in 1756 and that of course, held right through to the famine years and beyond. But that is another story. Maggie and myself are unlikely to have the pleasure of visiting Kerry but our small contribution is a way of being in touch. Thank you for your time. we will post a few more items later (agriculture, learning weather etc).

Adrain and Maggie
in New Zealand

Many thanks to Adrian and Maggie for this wonderful contribution to our Kerry site!

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This page created April 2000 for County Kerry, Ireland at


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