Townlands, Parishes, Baronies

MKA Griffiths Map

Kerry Civil Parishes

While helping at the recent Kerry Genealogy Roadshow in Castle Island, it was very clear that there is a lot of confusion amongst those starting to trace their ancestors, between Parishes and Townlands mostly and also a general unawareness of the different Kerry Baronies.

To-day we will start with Civil Parishes.

Civil Parishes

Civil Parishes are different from ‘the parish’ as we know it in Kerry.  From the sixteenth century onwards, the Parish structure was based on the Church of Ireland  medieval parochial divisions.  As the Church of Ireland was the Established or State Church, it was these parishes, called Civil Parishes  which are the basis for tax and land survey purposes.   If you want to check Tax Records or Land Surveys through the Tithe Applotment lists or through Griffiths Primary Valuation of Ireland, it is in these Civil Parishes that you will find your ancestors in, not the Catholic parishes that you are probably more familiar with.   There are forty two Civil Parishes in Kerry.  Click here to see the list (thank you to John Grehan & Irish Times)


These Civil Parishes are not the same as Catholic Parishes – where your ancestor might have been baptised or married.   We will outline these Roman Catholic and Church of Ireland Parishes to-morrow.