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ARDFERT

In 1868, the parish of Ardfert contained the following places:

"ARDFERT, a parish and market town, chiefly in the barony of Clanmaurice, partly in that of Trughanacmy, in the county of Kerry, province of Munster, Ireland, 6 miles to the N. of Tralee, and 198 miles from Dublin. It is situated in a fertile district on the coast of Ballyheigue bay, a little to the north of the range of hills called the Stacks mountains. It is a very ancient place, and the seat of one of the oldest bishoprics in the island. A monastery was founded here in the 6th century, by St. Brendan, previous to which a bishopric is said to have existed. The town and the monastery were destroyed by fire in 1089. The monastery suffered a similar calamity in 1151, at the hands of Cormac O'Culen, and again in 1179. A Franciscan monastery was established in the middle of the 13th century, by Thomas, Lord of Kerry, which became famous for the miracles wrought in it, and for the tombs of its founder and other lords. In 1599 the town was taken by the royal forces. The castle which had been erected in 1312, by Nicholas Fitzmaurice, was taken by Sir C. Wilmot, in 1600. This castle, after being rebuilt in 1637, was destroyed with the cathedral in 1641. Ardfert is a borough by prescription, and returned two members to the Irish parliament till the Union, when it was disfranchised. The corporation is now merely nominal, and the place a decayed village. Petty sessions were formerly held once a fortnight, but are transferred to Abbeydorney. The living is a rectory in the diocese of Limerick, Ardfert, and Aghadoe, value £101, in the patronage of the crown. The parish church is a portion of the ancient cathedral. The diocese of Ardfert has been from time immemorial incorporated with that of Aghadoe, and both are now united with the see of Limerick. The ruins of the cathedral stand on a hill north of the town. The east window is very elegant; in a ruche beside it is the figure of a bishop, readily believed to be that of St. Brendan. There is another effigy in the choir. Several Norman archways still remain. A round tower stood near the cathedral, but fell about 1780. In the grounds of the Earl of Glandore are the ruins of the Franciscan abbey. It was a cruciform building, and the remains are extensive and interesting. They include the nave and choir, a tower, a chapel, and part of the cloisters. In a recess under the south wall is an altar tomb of the last Earl and Countess of Glandore. There are several ancient monuments. Ardfert Abbey is the principal seat, and has been the residence of the Crosbies from the reign of Queen Elizabeth. It is situated in a fine park, which contains the beautiful ruins of the monastery. Other seats are Tulrid, Sackville House, and Barra. Rahanane Castle, the ruins of which are near the town, was the episcopal residence. The creek or harbour of Barra is within this parish. The market is no longer held. Fairs are held on Whit-Monday, and the 9th July."

"ABBEY ODORNEY, a village in the parish of Ardfert, and baronies of Trughanacury and Clanmaurice, in the county of Kerry and province of Munster, Ireland, 6 miles N. W. of Tralee. At this village are the ruins of the once celebrated abbey, built in 1154, upon the river Brick. 2½ miles from it, is Crotta, a very beautiful mansion, built by the Ponsonby family."

[Transcribed from The National Gazetteer of Great Britain and Ireland 1868]
by Colin Hinson ©2018