Kerry landlords for over 700 years, up to the land Acts of the late 1890s, ruled the lives of our Kerry ancestors. From the Fitgerald/Fitzmaurice Normans arrival, through the Plantation of Munster and the Cromwellian re-conquest, landlords, their middlemen and agents, were the major influence on day to day life for the vast majority of Kerry people.
From Trinity College in the north of the county of 54,479 acres to the Petty-Fitzmaurice/ Lansdowne Estate in the south with 94,000 acres and the numerous other large and small resident and non-resident owners, Kerry tenants’ wellbeing depended on their landlords attitudes, actions or inactions for that period of time. The economic, physical well-being, cultural and educational standards of the tenants depended on their masters. Some of these wealthy and powerful landlords were good, some bad and some plain indifferent.
The names of these Kerry landlords, of their agents and middlemen are writ large in the history of the county. While they could be classed as relics of a long gone era, their names crop up again and again, when a Kerry family tracing ancestors will be researching and asking reasons ‘Why’? Why did my ancestor leave? Why was my ancestor evicted? Why didn’t my ancestor own his/her own land? Why couldn’t my ancestor read or write? The answers to all these questions come back to the ‘land’. Land is wealth, wealth is power. We will endeavour to give a background to most of the more prominent Landlords, their Agents and Middlemen in future blogs. So if your family lived in townlands where property was owned by the Kerry landlords below look out for the weekly blogs with information on each:
Benn-Walsh (Lord Ormathwaite), Blennerhassett, Boyle (Earl of Cork), Browne (Earls of Kenmare), Collis, Crosbie, De Moleyn (Lord Ventry), Denny, Fitzgerald (Knights of Kerry), Fitzmaurice (Earls of Kerry), Gun, Hare (Lord Listowel), Lady Anne Headley, Herbert, Hurley/Fuller, Petty-Fitzmaurice (Earls of Lansdowne), Locke, Mahony (Dromore & Dunloe), McGillycuddy of the Reeks, O’Connell of Derrynane, Rowan, Sandes, Spring-Rice, Stoughton, Trinity College Estates.