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Help and advice for County Kerry

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County Kerry

"Kerry, a county of Ireland, province of Munster, 53 m. long and 41 broad; bounded E by Limerick and Cork, W by the Atlantic, N by the Shannon, which separates it from Thomond, and S by Desmond nd the ocean, containing 1,040,487 acres, divided into 84 parishes. Chief rivers, the Cashing, Lane, Roughy, and Mang. The S is a plain, and fertile in corn; but the greater part is mountainous, chiefly adapted for grazing. Considerable quantities of beef, buttter, hides, and tallow, are exported. It sends 4 members to parliament. Pop 205,037. Chief town, Tralee."
[From The New London Gazetteer (1826)]

Archives and Libraries

Kerry County Libraries
Local History and Archives Department, Moyderwell, Tralee.
+44 (0)66 7121200 Fax: +44 (0)66 7129202
http://www.kerrycountylibrary.com/
Among the collections are:

  • A comprehensive collection of Local newspapers dating back to 1820's
  • Collection of Books on Kerry
  • Local Maps ( Ordnance Survey )
  • 1901 Census - on microfilm
  • Local Historical Photographs (Lawrence / Eason Collections)
  • Board of Guardian Minute Books ( 1840's - )
  • Periodicals ( e.g. R.S.A.I. Journal, Cork Historical Society Journal )
  • Tithe Applotment Books (1820/30)
  • Griffiths Valuation of Tenements (c.1850)
  • Specialised family histories
  • And Other Genealogical Material.

Church History

Before the reformation, nearly the whole of the county was part of the Diocese of Ardfert and Aghadoe, with the cathedral at Ardfert. The parish of Kilcaskan was part of the Diocese of Cloyne, while the townland of Killmurrily was in the Diocese of Limerick.

Following the reformation, the (Anglican) Protestant Church of Ireland came into possession of the ancient churches, but as only about 2% of the county's population were protestant, most them fell into disuse and ruin. Ardfert Cathedral was destroyed in 1641, and the Diocese was combined with Limerick from 1663. A number of new churches were built at the beginning of 19th Century. When the Church of Ireland was disestablished in 1871, all the unused places of worship and burial grounds were handed over to the local authorities. A further decline in the Protestant population followed the creation of the Irish Free State, and a number of churches have been deconsecrated or demolished, and parishes combined. The diocese now contains 15 churches.

The majority of the population belonged to the Roman Catholic church. The last Catholic Bishop of Ardfert was ejected from the Cathedral by English forces in 1579. The church had to become an underground one, and the parish system became confused. Eventually, the episcopate was permanently restored to the renamed Diocese of Kerry. The parish structure was established by combining old parishes, new churches built, and the Cathedral and Chapter reestablished at Killarney. Details of the present parishes can be found at the website of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Kerry.

The Catholic Encyclopedia on the Diocese of Kerry and Aghadoe

Civil Registration

In 1845, registration was introduced for Church of Ireland and other non Catholic marriages. From 1864, all births, deaths and marriages were compulsorily registered.

Under the 1863 Registration Act the county was divided into six Superintendant Registrar's Districts, based on the Poor Law Unions. These were subdivided into 33 Registrar's Districts, grouping the whole or parts of Civil Parishes.

Details of the Registration Districts are provided on a separate page.

The indexes to the registers can be viewed at the General Register Office, Dublin, and extracts obtained.

Civil Registration is the responsibility of the Southern Health Board. The Original Registers for the County are held at the Kerry Registration Office, St. Columbanus Home, Killarney (Phone: + 44 (0)64 32251). Searches are allowed at appointed times by members of the public for a fee, and postal inquiries are also welcome. Philip O'Rourke has transcribed a list of Marriages from 1874-1884 in Trughacanmy Barony

Description and Travel

The best book on the history and topography of the county is:

Barrington, T.J. Discovering Kerry, Its history, heritage and topography, Wilton, Cork, Ireland, Collins Press Second edition 1999 [ISBN 1-898256-71-3]

Genealogy

Genealogical Centre:

Reference:

O'Connor, M.H. Guide to Tracing your Kerry Ancestors, Glenageary, Co. Dublin, Ireland, Flyleaf Press ~ Phone/Fax:(353 1) 283 1693 ~ 96 p.[ISBN 0 9508466 5 1]

Historical Geography

The modern County of Kerry was created in 1606, from the merger of the former County Palatine of Kerry with part of the County of Desmond, which was then extinguished.
Historically, Kerry was divided into nine baronies. The four northern baronies which were once part of the County Palatine were Clanmaurice, Corkaguiny, Irachticonnor and Trughanacmy. The five southern baronies were Dunkerron North and South, Glanerought, Iveragh and Magunihy.
There are historical descriptions of the baronies on a separate page.
The baronies were superceded as administrative units in the first half of the nineteenth century, but are still used in some official documents and in popular use, to this day.

Newspapers

County Kerry has three weekly newspapers, all of which have online editions The Kerry County Library has an archive of local newspapers

Periodicals

  • Kerry Archaeological and Historical Society Journal (annual)
    Mrs. K. Browne, Hon. Secretary, County Library, Moyderwell, Tralee
  • From Fianna:

  • Knocknagoshel, Then and Now (annual)
    Mr. L. Keane, Bunavalla, Knocknagoshel, Co. Kerry
  • Sliabh Luachra: Journal of Cumann Luachra,
    Mr. J. O'Mahony, Church View, Gneeveguille, Rathmore, Co. Kerry

Poor Houses, Poor Law etc.

Kerry was divided into the Poor Law Unions of Caherciveen, Dingle, Kenmare, Killarney, Listowel and Tralee. Part of the County fell in the Glin Union of County Limerick. Details of which Union each Parish was in will be found on the appropriate Parish page.

The minute books of the Boards of Guardians of the Kerry Unions are kept at the Local Studies Department of Kerry County Library.