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Your Are Here - Home > Counties > Kerry County
County Kerry (Contae Chiarraí in Irish) is a southwestern county in Ireland. Informally referred to as The Kingdom, it forms part of the Irish province of Munster. With an area of 4,746 km² (1,832 square miles), it is bordered by County Limerick to the east and County Cork to the south-east. The county town is Tralee while one of Ireland's most famous towns, Killarney, is also located in County Kerry. 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 both mainland Ireland and Europe. Likewise, Fenit, the port of Tralee, is the most westerly commercial shipping port in Europe.

History
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, but left deep scars in Kerry's public life.

Geography
Kerry faces the Atlantic Ocean and, typically for an Eastern-Atlantic coastal region, features many peninsulas and inlets: principally the Dingle Peninsula, the Iveragh Peninsula, and the Beara Peninsula, shared with neighbouring County Cork. The county is bounded on the west by the Atlantic Ocean and on the north by the River Shannon.

The Ring of Kerry on the Iveragh Peninsula is a popular route for tourists and cyclists. The pedestrian version is the scenic Kerry Way which follows ancient paths generally higher than that adopted by the Ring of Kerry.

Kerry is one of the most mountainous regions of Ireland and contains two of its three highest mountains, Carrauntoohil, part of the Macgillycuddy's Reeks range and Mount Brandon, part of the Slieve Mish range.

The Lakes of Killarney in the centre of the county are a scenic tourist attraction. Just off Kerry's coast are a number of islands, including the Blasket Islands, Valentia Island and the Skelligs. Skellig Michael is a World Heritage Site, famous for the medieval monastery clinging to the island's cliffs.

Kerry contains the extreme west point of Ireland Dunmore Head on the Dingle Peninsula, or including islands, Tearaght Island, part of the Blaskets. The most westerly inhabited area of Ireland is Dún Chaoin, on the Dingle Peninsula.

The River Feale, the River Laune and the Roughty River flow through Kerry, into the Atlantic.

Attractions
Kerry, with its mountains, lakes and Atlantic coastline is among the most scenic areas in Ireland and is among the most significant tourist destinations in Ireland. Killarney is the centre of the tourism industry, which is a significant element of the economy in Kerry.

The Kerry Way, Dingle Way and Beara Way are walking routes in the county.

Attractions include:

Lakes of Killarney, Ring of Kerry, Carrauntoohil, Mount Brandon, Blasket Islands, Fenit Harbour and Uragh Stone Circle

 
 
Killarney
Tralee
Kenmare
Listowel
Cahersiveen
Dingle
 
 
     
     
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Kerry County
Kerry
Place: Munster
People: 139,616
Speak: English, Irish
Area: 4,746 km2
GPS: -9.75, 52.166667