Smith's Kerry History Excerpts
Killarney VistaKerry map

Edited Index and Abstracts

from Smith's
"The Ancient and Present State of the County of Kerry"

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This book was written in 1756 but we will do our best to make it topical and balanced. It will be in the form of "not quite" alphabetical abstracts touching on people involved with the history of the Kingdom of Kerry, and sometime in the future we will abstract his descriptions of some of the baronies and observations he made such as agriculture and industry.

In the meantime, we thought that as there has been frequent mention of Spanish, Black Irish, you might be interested in what Smith had to say on the Spanish connection with Kerry:-

"This Parish and the Church is named Kilmelchedor and is said to have been built by the Spaniards who formerly erected many other churches thereabouts. Several Spanish merchants resided at Dingle before Queen Elizabeth's time, who traded with the natives for fish ... as appears by a tract written by John Dee in 1576, who complains much of the intrusion of foreigners appon our seacoasts for fishing, which, he says, they frequent with as much security as if they were within their own King's limits" and -

"On Tuesday 10 September 1588 there was wrecked in the Blaskets, a ship called "Our Lady of the Rosary" of 1000 tons, in which was drowned the Prince of Ascule, the King of Spain's base son .... with 70 other gentlemen ... and John Rice, an Irish Captain; Francis Roch an Irishman and 500 others, whereof 100 were gentlemen. There was but one person saved - John Antonio de Monona, a Genoese and son of the pilot."

"On Saturday 7 September 1588 a bark surrendered in Tralee Bay in which were 24 men; and a Spanish frigate was wrecked Tuesday following on the Coast of Desmond."

The following letter was sent by Sir Wm Herbert to the Lord President of Munster:-

"On 6 September the Spanish Admiral John Ricalde came into the Sound of the Blasquets together with another great ship and a barque; and the next day, a second ship of 400 tons, and another barque. The Admiral's ship has been shot through 14 or 15 times - she had not 60 mariners left and while she lay there they threw overboard daily 5 or 6 of the company, who died of fatigue and hardship. But a violent tempest happened on the 16th and 17th - these ships were dispersed and never more heard of."

"Examination 1 September 1588 of John Antonio de Monona, Pilot's son of "Our Lade of the Rosary", before Sir William Herbert. ....when parted with the English fleet on the coast of Scotland & their whole fleet (was) missing .. and that they had lost by battle and diseases, 8,000 men. One of them, the "Saint Matthew" lost 450 men. The fleet was in want of fresh water ..... Emanuel Formosa, a Portugese said that he belonged to the Saint John and being seperated by storm, made for the coast of Dingle. He too spoke of deaths and illness."

"In Thomond, at Ballycahilly, a ship of 900 tons was wrecked and 400 crew entrenched themselves. Another was lost at Tirawley out of which were taken 3 noblemen, a bishop a friar and 69 men, by William Bourke of Ardmerie, and the residue were slain or drowned. One MacLaughlin MacCob, a gallowglass, had killed 80 of them.

Other ships were lost upon the coast of Connaught. Those that remained in the Shannon set sail on 7 September leaving one of 1000 tons which they burned."

"The Ancient and Present State of the County of Kerry" (Charles Smith 1756) " being a Natural, Civil, Ecclesiastical, Historical and Topographical Description thereof .... undertaken with the Approbation of the Physico - Historical Society".

In his preface addressed to Robert, Lord Viscount Jocelyn, Baron Newport, the Lord Chancellor and one of the Lord Justices of Ireland ... Smith said :

"This Kingdom, my lord is a kind of terra incognita to the greater part of Europe, who know very little either of its topography, geography, civil or natural history; none of which sciences have been cultivated here to any purpose ... These branches of knowledge cannot be pursued without visiting and surveying every spot ...."

He goes on, in the introduction to say (abstracted):

"This Kingdom ... still remains in obscurity to the rest of the learned world, who are still amused with fables and very false and scandalous accounts of it. And this seems to be at present, the only country in Europe so much wanting in public spirit, that it is incapable of keeping up a Society of gentlemen, who may meet at proper intervals ... (for the furtherance of knowledge)."

"The history of this island .... does not point out a proper period for making enquiries of this nature ... Until the reign of James I this Kingdom was constantly in a state of war, its government very unsettled and in many places the English laws were not acknowledged ..."

"The English undertakers began at this time to plant, build and improve the Province of Ulster - yet there were few branches of trade carried on. (After) the wars of 1641 - this country remained unsettled. A Council of Trade was appointed and several wise men consulted, particularly Sir William Petty who best understood the genius of the natives ...."

"The succeeding measures of the next unfortunate reign obstructed the labours of the industrious English. An ill-guided, impolitic, bigoted persecution disturbed the tranquility of the nation .... Oppression on the account of religion ... succeeded, which forced the English from their settlements ... This false policy, acted barefacedly here and more covertly in England, paved the way for the revolution."

"Times which succeed those of war and confusion often make ample recompence for the infinate calamities which preceded them; mankind are instead of thinking on the scenes of war - that they purify and clear the air which they disturb. At this present time (1756), the blindness of former ages, and the miseries of the last are vanished."

We have quoted the above abstract for the benefit of fellow Kerry researchers, as it is important to understand the general and political climate in which Smith wrote his account, and the audience he was writing for. We post this edited index with abstracts, the whole of which we hope may serve to some extent, to outline the families and people that Smith considered noteworthy in the history of Kerry - especially in the period 1600-1756. Of course it must be understood that many of us of Irish extraction may justifiably have a differing view to Smith's sometimes disdainful remarks and indeed his version, including some of the gentry family history he quotes, may not be superceded by better information. There are more recent books on Kerry which should be consulted. With that provisio and warning we will proceed.

Edited Index and Abstracts From Smith's
"The Ancient and Present State of the County of Kerry"

NOTE: This book was written in 1756. Names are referenced once only and not repeated alphabetically. Spelling has been kept as written. If there is family history mentioned which may be of use to genealogists a note is made that of fact. These notes do not in general refer to those lineages and the book should be consulted. Reference to a name does not imply that the family continued in Kerry.

ANNESLEY of Valentia - purchased by present (1756) Earl of Shelbourne - created Viscount Valentia 1621 after decease of Sir Henry POWER. Some family history included.

APSLEY Edward. Drowned himself River Hone - estate forfeited and granted to Francis MITCHELL (Browne Family History).

ALYMER James of Croghbrien - living 1689 George of Lyons, Kildare etc.

AMES 1642 - robbery English at Tralee, one who received oath of allegiance.

ALLAN 1578 Saunders, English Jesuit and ALLEN, Irish Jesuit sought to bring expedition to Spain. Embarked Smerewick with 80 Spaniards and English Catholics.

ADAMS Francis, one of the first burgesses of Tralee 1612.

ANNORY Thomas MP 1661

ALDWORTH Sir Richard of Newmarket, Cork. Advised English Protestants in Kerry 1685

BROWN(E) Sir Valentine QE1 grant of 6560 acres. Wrote tract for reformation of Ireland. Numerous references and family history. 1639 MP for Co Kerry. Capt. James 1642, besieged Tralee, John Browne Esq MP Ardfert 1690. Browne family Hosptial, Limerick and Molahife and Ross.

BOYLE Dr John, Bishop of Cork. Sir Richard, purchased land Ventry c. 1586. Mr Boyle, essay on origin and virtue of gems.

BUTLER Sir Edmund, one of those who proclaimed Earl of Desmond a traitor, at Rathkeale 1579.

BLENNERHASSET Refs. 21 pages. "The Blennerhassets are also a very numerous and flourishing family ...". Came from Flinby, Cumberland in time of QE1 and married daughter of Jenkin Conway. Much family history inclujding Monumental Inscriptiuon for John died 1732. Seat (1756) Ballyseedy.

BRADLEY (1756) ...."A farmer must be at considerable pains to drain moisture ... double breasted wheel plough with 3 coulters .... as described by Mr Bradley". (Clanmaurice Barony).

BARRY Numerous medieval references and John Barry, Sherrif of Cork c.1600, driven from Kerry by Florence MacCARTHY.

BRYAN Phillip of Waterford, had licence with Patrick MULGAN and James RICE for pilgrimage to Spain c. 1469. A Rice connection Kerry is implied, not stated.

O BRIEN Sir Daniel, delivered up as hostage 1652 after the Battle of Knockniclashy, Co. Cork.

BOURKE numerous references on 10 pages.

BLUNDELL Sir George MP Dingle 1639 with Chistopher ROPER

BECKFORD Richard and wife, prisoners taken Loghercannon, appeal by brother to Captain SUGANE (alias Fineen MacCARTHY)

BREWSTER Francis MP Dingle 1703

BATEMAN Mr ... "There has been lead ore discovered in lumps, but not worth the working ... shafts have been dug near Tralee by the late Mr Bateman with considerable success ...." (1756). Bateman family seat at Killeene near Tralee (1756).

BRAMSTONE Thomas, one of the 12 burgesses of Tralee QE1's time.

BILLINGSLEY Henry, purchased Ventry 1568 and then sold to Sir Richard BOYLE.

BOREMAN (and others 1642) - "The Irish robbed the English particularly Sir Edward Denny's tenants round Tralee who were obliged to flee naked to the castle ... 400 souls ... provisions consumed ... capitulated. The Governor finding his men displeased at his being taken in, administered an oath binding them to the King and to maintain the Protestant religion, and defend the castle." They were Thomas DENNY, Daniel HEALY, gents; Nathaniel HARRISON, clerk; William FELL, Clerk; Elkanagh KNIGHT, surgeon, William BOREMAN, gent, Owen MOORORHUGH, Richard AMES, Henry JONES, Manuel GABRIEL .... and after the death of some of these were added - William TURNER, Francis CALLNIS, Thomas BUCKFORD

On the subject, Siege of Tralee, Smith writes "Among many other remarkable things which happened during this siege, it is worthy of note, that of 30 women who were delivered of children in the castle not one of them was longer than half an hour in labour, and in 2 or 3 days after, they were all able to go about their domestic affairs and not one of them fell sick or miscarried, not withstanding they fed upon salt beef, pork and bacon, and had no other drink but the water" (of which he says)....brought on putrid fevers. ...... others broke out into incurable ulcers.

(Mac)BRODIE Dermot, Irish priest pardoned 1600, after the surrender of Listowel Castle, for finding Lord Kerry's son who had been secreted away to safety.

(O)CONNOR - Thomas Connor of Dublin purchased forfeited lands c. 1666 from COSGRAVE and LYNE. Rev. Thomas Connor, Chantor of Ardfert, of Castle Shannon.
O Connor lands, Carrigfoile forfeited QE1's time and in 1641 - former seat of O Connor KERRY. John Connor found friary of Lislaghton 1478. Dermot O Connor involved in apprehension of O'DONOGHUE's 1599. John O Connor KERRY 1601, revolted, betrayed Carrigfoile Castle to Spaniards who slaughtered garrison. Bernard O Connor, Dr of Physic, Physician to King John SOBIESKI of Poland C. 1694. Dermot O Connor, translated Keating's "History of Ireland" 1723. Rev. Thomas Connor, Archdeacon of Ardfert, Brian O Connor forfeited lands to SANKEY c. 1667 (and numerous other references).

CONWAY Captain Jenkin, Undertaker QE1, 5260 acres including Killorglin. Family from Wales. numerous references including Castle Conway, plus family history.

CROSBIE family, from Lancashire arrived QE1's time. In 1641 held Ballingarry until taken by treachery. He retired to this castle with several English families during the wars of 1641; build several houses for them in the isthmus with covered ways and drawbridge for security. Defended it for a year until one KELLY, in his service, let the drawbridge down. Family history on 27 pages.

CARRIQUE John, granted estate 1666. William, of Cloghers near Tralee 1641. John of Glandine granted 2370 acres, Glandine and the Magharies. Some family history.

CRONEENE Daniel of Rathmore - "The eastern parts adjoining the County of Cork are coarse and mountainous and besides the mountains of Slievelogher, which in the time of QE1, were impassable, it comprehends also the territory called Glanfesk, which has been of late years much improved, enclosed and cultivated ... by Mr Daniel Croneene of Rathmore ....".

CRUMP Mr, who had (1756) Barley Mount, Parish of Aglish, near Killarney.

CHILD, Richard, Viscount CASTLEMAIN 1718, who resided England - "It is Castlemain (1756) but a mean inconsiderable village and has nothing in it remarkable.

CHUTE Richard - had (1756) Tulligarron near Tralee.

CONNEL David - Islands of Scarif and Dinish ..."These islands with the continent are farmed from Earl of Cork by Mr Daniel Connel who has on a part named Derrynane, built a good house - the only plantation hereabouts".

COOTE Glanrought Barony, Parish of Tuosista - "the greatest part of which is rock, except for land occupied by Mr Coote, and some parts about Kilmakaloge possessed by the
O Sullivan's".

COLLAM Captain, granted St Finan's Abbey, Innisfallen.

COPPINGER Thomas, Seneschal to Earl of Desmond died Lixnaw 1498.

O CROWLIE 1599 Florence MacCARTHY requested pledges for the O SULLIVANS,
O DONOGHUES, O Crowlie's and O MAHON CARBERRY - not allowed. Daniel Crowley attempted to rob Mr ORPEN 1687, failed, executed.

COTTER, Sir J's dragoons near Listowel 1691.

COLLIS Dr William c 1756 re Tralee Spa, observed that an earthworm put in its water dies, that the water was diuretic and that a horse which drank it was incapable of running the race. (Some water!).

COLTHURST Undertaker family or Ballyvourney, Co. Cork with Kerry connections.

CURLESTONE one of the first 12 burgesses of Tralee, QE1.

CONRY Roger forfeited estate to SANKEY 1667, with Nicholas WALSH, Patrick MacELLISTRUM, Brian CONNOR, Dominick ROCH - in the Parishes of Brosnagh,
O Brennan, BallyMacelligot, Ratass, Ballyseedy, Clogherbrian, Annagh, Noghavel and in Tralee. (He doesn't specifiy who had what).

CLANBOYS (etc) letter Earl of Cork to Lord Deputy of Ireland 1631 - There is a matter of no small importance to the strengthening and securing those parts of Leinster, which is that of the tranplanted septs .... consisting of the MOONE's, KELLIE's, LAWLER's, Clanboys, CLANMALAUGHLIN's, DORAN's and DOWLING's, who were in all ages past much observed to disquiet the peace of Leinster .... and therefore it was a long time the desire of the State to remove them ... it was resolved that they (having no freehold) should be transplanted ... beyond the Mountains of Slievelogher, Kerry which was granted to Patrick CROSBIE with abatement of rent ... to removed these Septs .... the said Crosbie first reserving three quarters for his own desmesne, was to grant the residue at reasonable rates ... so they might have no cause to return .... (etc)."

(Mac) CARTY, CARTHY. Very numerous references 47 pages. ".....among the Irish Septs in Desmond the McCartie's were by far the most eminent ... but after their best lands were subdued by the English adventures, the Chief of this potent clan retired into Kerry. He was not long settled when he was imprisoned and treated with great cruelty by his own son, Cormac O LEHANAH ...". Irrelagh Friary, Killarney founded by Donald (died 1468) son of Thady MacCarty in 1440. Fromn this timne it was the cemetery of MacCarty More's. Bishop CROSBIE. The history of the MacCarthy's is quite fully dealt with as may be expected of such an important family and is probably too well known to repeat here.

(Mac)CREHAN - of Iveragh, descended from O'SULLIVAN's. "This family of Cappanacushy, in defect of heirs in O Sullivan More's house, always succeeded to his lands .... a branch of which still reside near this castle. There are a few spots of tillage and potato culture to be seen scattered about the rocks, but most miserably secured from ..... the cattle, so that for want of hedges or fences, they are obliged to keep people in them when corn is near ripe ...".

(Mac)CRATH - built Cappanacushy Castle, Templenoe, a branch of O SULLIVAN MORE.

(Mac)CABE family, supported Knight of Kerry 1601, with the MacSWINEY's.

(Mac)CLEOD Sir John of Galway - "whose kindred have been called MacElligot, a numerous name in Kerry ... Listowel, Tralee" etc. (See MacElligott). (Also see MacLysaght "Irish Surnames" who says the origin is more likely to have been FitzELIAS). (See MacElligott).

DENNY Sir Edward, 6000 acres at 100 pounds per annum QE1. Family history on 30 pages and footnotes, including an extract of the land grant.

(O)DONOGHUE. Anciently settled Glanflesk, Ross, Island of Innisfallen called
O Donoghue's Prison and another his Garden. 1588 O Donoghue's lands in possession of Rorie DONOHUE alias O DONOHOE MOORE ... 1612 lands of O Donohue More to Valentine BROWNE (O Naught, Ross, and Molahiffe). 1641 rebellion Florence McCARTY of Carrigprehane assumed title Governer of Kerry and with these men raised troops & Daniel MacCARTY of Cariggrehane, Edmund FitzMAURICE of Torbrid, Garret FitzGERALD of BallyMacdaniel, Daniel MORIARTY of Castledrom, O SULLIVAN of Dunkerron, Donogh MacGILLYCUDDY, O Dopnoghue of Glanflesk, O Donoghue of Ross, James BROWNE of Killarney, MacELLIGOT of Ballymao-Elligot, Nicholas MacTHOMAS FitzMAURICE of Ballykealey, Pierce FERRITER of Castle Sybil, Tieg MacDERMOT CARTY of Tiernigoose, Walter HUSSEY of Castlegregory, Garret FitzMAURICE of Listowel, Donough MacFINEEN of Kilowen, Fineen MacDANIEL CARTHY (alias Captain SUGRANE). Several other minor references to name.

O DONNELL Christopher MD, MP ardfert 1692 with Andrew YOUNG.

(O)DALY Daniel. Dominican Friar assumed the name Dominick a Rosario, resided Tralee Convent. Educated in Flanders. Founded Bon Success Convent for Irish nuns at Lisborn. 1655 Ambassador for Portugal at Parish. - (etc).

DETHICK Humphrey MP Tralee 1613, with Robert BLENNERHASSET.

DOWLING family (see CLANBOY)

(O)DINGLE Captain Dermot (real name MORIARTY) nearly captured at Tralee 1642. Two of his men were - one hung, the other Thomas ROE, Piper, kept to entertain the English.

(Mac)DERMOT Daniel robbed French Protestant refugees and drove then into the Kenmare 1686.

(Mac)EGAN Priest dispatched by Florence McCARTHY to Spain for help 1600, after McCarthy observed with grief the progress the English had made in subduing Kerry.

(Mac)ELLIGOTT Colonel Roger MP Ardfert 1690 with Cornelius McGILLICUDDY. John and Richard prisoners 1644. Nephew of Col. David CROSBIE 1641, Maurice, attacked Ballybeggan Castle 1742. Thomas of Galley slain in rebellion, forfeited lands. Some family history mentioned.

EUSTACE Maurice led Irish Horse 1691.

(Mac)ELLISTRUM Patrick. Forfeited lands to SANKEY 1667.

EXHAM Richard, English, held Ballybeggan Castle 1642.

FERRITER Captain 1642. Family of, Castle Sybil also known as Elizabeth Castle. Some family references. Their land in 1756 was chiefly the property of the Earl of Cork and Orrery.

(Mac)FINEEN Owen of Maffoyry etc. 1588. MacFineen, took Castlemain 1641. Captain SUGREEN alias MacFineen MacCARTY etc.

FLOWER Captain of English forces, routed MacCARTY MORE 1599.

FOWKES Robert MP Dingle 1691 with Lancelot SANDES.

FULLER William 1663 Bishop of Ardfert.

FOWNES Sir William elected for Dingle Borough 1749.

(Mac)GILLYCUDDY. Castle near Dunlow. 1690 Cornelius elected for Ardfert with Col. Roger MacELLIGOT. Captain MacGillycuddy in besieged Tralee Castle 1642. Lt Col. McGillycuddy led Lord MUSKERRY's Regiment ... " and who was more popular than that nobleman" (1652).

GODFREY John - estate called Bushfielld near Killagh Abbey extending 6 miles along the Mang and Larne Rivers, and "well planted by a considerable number of English families .... no estate can show an equal number of Protestant families among whom their landlord can number a troop of as brave horsemen of old Cromwellian blood as any in Ireland". Ballygamboone - part of this estate.

GUN William of Liscahane Castle, settled 1641, with miscellaneous family references., Townsend Gun had Rattoo (1756).

GEERANE Dunmore Head - the most western point of Europe, called by the Irish Ty-Varney Geerane or Mary Geerane's House.

(Fitz)GERALD, extensive history on 36 pages, including the monumental inscription to "Johannes FitzGerald Eque Kerriensis" 1741 in St Mary's Chapel, Dingle, the remaining part of St James Church which was in ruins 1756. Reference also Earls of DESMOND. An old tombstone at St Mary's - "Trinitas individua salva nos. I.N.R.I. OPater M.N.P.P. d J.N.A.M. Amen 1504 Die le Beo, B.Gar. ",,,,the last words, Smith says, are Irish abbreviated for "God Give the Fitzgerald's long life".

HOLLOW BLADE COMPANY (of London) purchased estates forfeited in King James' time - those of DONOGH, Earl of Clancarty, Sir Patrick TRANTS, Nicholas SKIDDY, Daniel MacFineen CARTHY, James FitzMAURICE.

HERBERT Sir William. Planter family time of QE1. Granted 13,276 acres. Charles Herbert granted 3,768 acres (son of Sir William Herbert of Colebrook). Originally from Monmouth, Wales. The first Herbert who settled in Kerry was Thomas of Kilkow "of which lands, with Ballymacquodam he was enfeoffed by Edward Herbert of Cherburg and of Castleisland 1656". Descent and family history on 20 pages.

HOLLY John granted 4,422 acres time of QE1, but no trace of family by 1756.

HUSSEY family settled from England at Dingle from earliest times. Dingle in Irish - Daingean ni Cushy (the fastness or castle of Hussey). FitzGERALDs, Earls of Desmond granted them land from Castle Drum to Dingle. The castle vaults were being used in 1756 as the town gaol. Castle Gregory possessed by Walter Hussey 1641, as was Magheries and Ballybegan. Castle garrisoned against Cromwell 1641. John Hussey MP for Dingle 1690. Thee are several other references.

HARRIS Sir Thomas, High Sherrif - account of involvement 1641 rebellion.

HOPKINS "A man - Hopkins - who a few years ago was Sexton at Swords near Dublin, was present at the taking of Ross Castle 1652. The Irish had a prophecy that the castle would not fall unless a ship should appear upon the lake" - Hopkins put one on it to intimidate the garrison and hasten capitulation. It did.

HIDE Arthur MP, Tralee 1703 with Samuel MORRIS.

HORE 1642 Florence MacCARTHY, Maurice MacELLIGOT Jnr and Walter HUSSEY attacked Ballybeggan Castle - marched south to burn Henry HUDDLESTONE's house, and the Hore's, where they built an engine called a sow, having three sides, no floor, on 4 wheels, with holes to shoot through and "walked" by 10 or 12 men inside. "The Irish had about 20 men killed and burnt in these engines. The garrison observed one man half burnt lying under the rubbish, on whom a cat had fed every day ---- whose corpse the Irish desired leave to bury" (not granted).

HEWETSON Mr ... owned Minegahane (1756). "The most remarkable thing .... is the prodigious noise made at certain seasons by the sea ... like a canon firing".

HARDING Richard. Granted Innisfallen Abbey and lands at Dissolution of Monasteries C. 1540.

HUMPTON One of the first burgesses of Tralee QE1.

IRWIN Mr, who surveyed Long Ardgroome Harbour; didn't allow for magnetic compass variations and drew it badly.

(FITZ)JAMES Edward MP Dingle 1690 with John HUSSEY.

(FITZ)JOHN James taken prisoner with JOHN OF DESMOND and executed 1580.

JACKSON Richard, Steward to Sir Edward DENNY 1642.

KELLY "treacherously" let down the drawbridge at Ballingarry to admit Irish 1641.

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