[Rootsweb, Ancestry.com]

[Rootsweb, Ancestry.com]

What are ‘Administrative Divisions’?,   you will probably ask.  These are the land divisions that were introduced to Ireland following the Norman invasion.  They were copies of the divisions then in use in the Kingdom of England.  Over the years there have been changes but the basic structure is set out below.

Ireland is divided into the provinces of Munster, Leinster, Ulster and Connacht.  Kerry is a county in the province of Munster with an area of 1586 sq miles.  County Kerry like every other county in Ireland is divided into different units for the purpose of both civil and ecclesiastical administration.


The Townland is the smallest civil division and can vary from 10 acres to several thousand. There are 2756 townlands in Kerry.  Find these online here.

Civil Parish

There are 86 civil parishes in Kerry, formed from the townlands.[1]  Find these online here


The barony is generally based on the ancient ‘tuath’ or territory of an Irish Clan.  There are 9 baronies in County Kerry – Iraghticonnor, Clanmaurice, Corkaguiny, Trughanacmy, Iveragh, Dunkerron North, Dunkerron South, Glanerought & Maguinhy.[2]

Poor Law Union (PLU)

Kerry has six major PLU’s: Cahirciveen, Dingle, Kenmare, Killarney, Listowel, Tralee.  These are used in the civil registrations of births, marriages & deaths (from 1864)

The Ecclesiastical Parish

This is the smallest division in the administration of both the Catholic Church and Church of Ireland.

These are the parishes that you will need to know if you are searching in www.IrishGenealogy.ie. Map of Civil Parishes of Kerry on p. 17 and complete list on pgs.18 & 19 Finding Your Ancestors in Kerry.

Catholic Church Parish

Catholic parishes now rarely conform exactly to civil parish boundaries.  They may have the same name as the civil parish in which they are located.  Kerry Catholic Parishes listed here.

[1] Caball Kay, Finding Your Ancestors in Kerry (Fyleaf Press Dublin) 2015, p.17 Including Map

[2] Ibid.