County Kerry Genealogy

County Kerry Genealogy

Kerry Ancestry COUNTY KERRY FAMILY HISTORY

Irish name: Ciarraí

County Kerry is one of the twenty-six counties of the Republic of Ireland, and one of the thirty-two counties of Ireland, situated within the province of Munster. Kerry is the 5th largest of Ireland’s 32 counties in area, and 14th largest in terms of population. It is bordered by County Limerick to the east and County Cork to the south-east. The county town is Tralee. One of Ireland's most famous towns, Killarney, is also located in the county. The Lakes of Killarney, an area of outstanding natural beauty, are located in Killarney National Park. The tip of the Dingle Peninsula is the most westerly point of Ireland.

On August 27, 1329, by Letters Patent, Maurice FitzGerald, 1st Earl of Desmond was confirmed in the feudal seniority of the entire county palatine of Kerry, to him and his heirs male, to hold of the Crown by the service of one knight's fee.

In the 15th century, the majority of the area now known as County Kerry was still part of the County Desmond, the west Munster seat of the Earl of Desmond, a branch of the Hiberno-Norman Fitzgerald family, known as the Geraldines.

In 1580, during the Second Desmond Rebellion, one of the most infamous massacres of the Sixteenth century, the Siege of Smerwick, took place at Dún an Óir near Ard na Caithne (Smerwick) at the tip of the Dingle Peninsula. The 600-strong Italian, Spanish and Irish papal invasion force of James Fitzmaurice Fitzgerald was besieged by the English forces and massacred.

In 1588 when the fleet of the Spanish Armada in Ireland were returning to Spain during stormy weather, many of their ships sought shelter at the Blasket Islands and some were wrecked.

During the Nine Years War, Kerry was again the scene of conflict, as the O'Sullivan Beare clan joined the rebellion. In 1602, their castle at Dunboy was besieged and taken by English troops. Donal O'Sullivan Beare, in an effort to escape English retribution and to reach his allies in Ulster, marched all the clan's members and dependents to the north of Ireland. Due to harassment by hostile forces and the freezing weather, very few of the 1,000 O'Sullivans who set out reached their destination.

In the aftermath of the War, much of the native owned land in Kerry was confiscated and given to English settlers or 'planters'. The head of the MacCarthy Mor family, Florence MacCarthy was imprisoned in London and his lands were divided between his relatives and colonists from England, such as the Browne family.

In the 1640s, Kerry was engulfed by the Irish Rebellion of 1641, an attempt by Irish Catholics to take power in the Protestant Kingdom of Ireland. The rebellion in Kerry was led by Donagh McCarthy, 1st Viscount Muskerry. McCarthy held the county during the subsequent Irish Confederate Wars and his forces were some of the last to surrender to the Cromwellian conquest of Ireland in 1652. The last stronghold to fall was Ross Castle, near Killarney.

In the 17th and 18th centuries, Kerry became increasingly populated by poor tenant farmers, who came to rely on the potato as their main food source. As a result, when the potato crop failed in 1845, Kerry was very hard hit by the Great Irish Famine of 1845–49. In the wake of the famine, many thousands of poor farmers emigrated to seek a better life in America and elsewhere. Kerry was to remain a source of emigration until recent times. Another long term consequence of the famine was the Land War of the 1870s and 1880s, in which tenant farmers agitated, sometimes violently for better terms from their landlords.

In the 20th century, Kerry was one of the counties most affected by the Irish War of Independence (1919–21) and Irish Civil War (1922–23). In the war of Independence, the Irish Republican Army fought a guerrilla war against the Royal Irish Constabulary, and British military. One of the more prominent incidents in the conflict in Kerry, were the 'siege of Tralee' in November 1920. when the Black and Tans placed Tralee under curfew for a week, burned many homes and shot dead a number of local people in retaliation for the IRA killing of 5 local policemen the night before. Another was the Headford Junction ambush in spring 1921, when IRA units ambushed a train carrying British soldiers outside Killarney. About twenty British soldiers, three civilians and two IRA men were killed in the ensuing gun battle. Violence between the IRA and the British was ended in July 1921, but nine men, four British soldiers and five IRA men, were killed in a shootout in Castleisland on the day of the truce itself, indicating the bitterness of the conflict in Kerry.

Following the Anglo-Irish Treaty, most of the Kerry IRA units opposed the settlement. In the ensueing civil war between pro and anti-treaty elements, Kerry was perhaps the worst affected area of Ireland. Initially the county was held by the Anti-Treaty IRA but it was taken for the Irish Free State after seaborne landings by Free State troops at Fenit and Listowel. Thereafter the county saw a bitter guerrilla war between men who had been comrades only a year previously. The republicans, or 'irregulars' mounted a number of successful actions, for example attacking and taking Kenmare in September 1922. In March 1923, Kerry saw a series of massacres of republican prisoners by National Army soldiers in reprisal for the ambush of their men -the most notorious being the killing of 8 men with mines at Ballyseedy, near Tralee. The internecine conflict was brought to an end in May 1923.

Some towns and villages of county Kerry where we have researched Kerry Ancestors are;

1. Ballyduff 2. Killarney. 3. Kenmare 4. Listowel 5. Dingle 6. Killorglin. 7. Ballylongford 8. Castlegregory 9. Inch 10. Tralee

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Civil Parishes of County Kerry

If you are researching Kerry ancestors, there are 86 civil parishes in County Kerry and the church registries can be researched in either the Public Records of Northern Ireland in Belfast or the National Library in Dublin.. They are as follows;

1. Aghadoe 2. Aghavallen 3. Aglish 4. Annagh 5. Ardfert 6. Ballincuslane 7. Ballinvoher 8. Ballyconry 9. Ballyduff 10. Ballyheige* 11. Ballymacelligott 12. Ballynacourty 13. Ballynahaglish 14. Ballyseedy 15. Brosna 16. Caher 17. Castleisland* 18. Cloghane 19. Clogherbrien 20. Currans 21. Dingle 22. Dromod 23. Duagh 24. Dunquin 25. Dunurlin 26. Dysert 27. Fenit 28. Finuge 29. Galey 30. Garfinny 31. Glanbehy* 32. Kenmare 33. Kilbonane 34. Kilcaragh 35. Kilcaskan* 36. Kilcolman 37. Kilconly 38. Kilcredane 39. Kilcrohane 40. Kilcummin 41. Kildrum 42. Kilfeighny 43. Kilflyn 44. Kilgarrylander 45. Kilgarvan 46. Kilgobban 47. Killaha 48. Killahan 49. Killarney 50. Killeentierna 51. Killehenny 52. Killemlagh 53. Killinane 54. Killiney 55. Killorglin 56. Killury 57. Kilmalkedar* 58. Kilmoyly 59. Kilnanare 60. Kilnaughtin 61. Kilquane 62. Kilshenane 63. Kiltallagh 64. Kiltomy 65. Kinard 66. Knocknane* 67. Knockanure 68. Lisselton 69. Listowel 70. Marhin 71. Minard 72. Molahiffe 73. Murher 74. Nohaval 75. Nohavaldaly 76. O'Brennan 77. O'Dorney 78. Prior 79. Ratass 80. Rattoo 81. Stradbally 82. Templenoe 83. Tralee 84. Tuosist 85. Valencia 86. Ventry;

Genealogy Sources for each Irish County

Antrim Armagh Carlow Cavan
Clare Cork Derry (Londonderry) Donegal
Down Dublin Fermanagh Galway
Kerry Kildare Kilkenny Laois
Leitrim Limerick Longford Louth
Mayo Meath Monaghan Offaly
Roscommon Sligo Tipperary Tyrone
Waterford Westmeath Wexford Wicklow

Major Sources of Irish Ancestry

Church Records Land Records Directories
Registry of Deeds Wills Emigration Records
Newspapers

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If you need advice from one of our genealogy research team send a message and we will be happy to help. click HERE for more information

OUR PRELIMINARY RESEARCH IS NOW REDUCED

My Irish Ancestors have reduced our Preliminary Research by 65%

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