Britannia, by William Camden

The County of Kerry.

Small T THE County of Kerry, near the mouth of the Shannon, shoots forth like a little tongue into the sea; the waves roaring on both sides of it. This County stands high, and has many wild and woody hills; between which lie many vallies, whereof some produce corn, others wood. This * was* Is, C. once reckon’d a County Palatine, and the Earls of Desmond had therein the dignity and prerogatives of Counts Palatine, by the gift of Edward the third, who granted them all royalties, except four pleas, Fire, Rape, Forestall, and Treasure-trouve, with the profits arisingout De croccis.of compositions for Manslaughter, which were referred to the Kings of England. But this Privilege, through the wickedness of such, who out of ignorance and perverseness abus’d it, became long since the sink of Mischief, and the refuge of Sedition, ⌈and is now extinct.⌉ In the very entrance into this County, there is a territory called Clan-moris,Clan-Moris. from one Moris, of the family of Raimund la Grosse, whose heirs were call’d Barons of Lixnaw; ⌈and at this day, the Family of Fitz-Morris are Barons, under the joint titles of Kerry and Lixnaw.⌉ * * Cross the middle of it, C.Near it, runs a little river, now nameless; though perhaps, by its situation, the same which Ptolemy calls the Dur.Dur, riv. It passes by TraileyTrailey., ⌈†† A small Town, now almost desolate, C.now a thriving Place; being the Shire-Town, and a Corporation;⌉ where was once a House of the Earls of Desmund. Hard by, lies Ardart,Bishoprick of Ardart. the See of a poor Bishop, called of Ardefert. ⌈In the Irish Histories and Records, the Bishops of this place are sometimes called Bishops of Kerry, (which is here observed, to prevent mistakes;) and now the Bishoprick it self is united to that of Limerick.⌉ Almost at the end of this Promontory, there lies on one side Dingle,Dingle. a commodious Harbour ⌈as also a walled Town, and a Corporation;⌉ and on the other side Smerwick,Smerwick. contracted from St. Mary-wic, a road for Ships; where Girald Earl of Desmund, a person noted for treachery to his Prince and Country, wasting and spoiling Mounster, receiv’d some * * Tumultua­ria.confus’d Troops of Italians and Spaniards, sent to his assistance by Pope Gregory the thirteenth and the King of Spain; who fortifying themselves here, and calling it Fort del Ore, threaten’d the Country with ruin. But this danger was at an end by the coming and first attack of the Vice-roy, the most famous and warlike Baron, the Lord Arthur Grey.Arthur Lord Grey. For they immediately surrender’d, and were most of them put to the Sword; which was thought, in policy, the wisest and safest course, considering the then present posture of Affairs, and that the Rebels were ready to break out in all quarters. In conclusion, the Earl of Desmund was himself forc’d to fly into the Woods thereabouts, and soon after was set upon in a poor Cottage by one or two Soldiers, who wounded him; and being afterwards discovered, he was beheaded for his disloyalty,1583. and for the vast mischief that he had done to this Country.

⌈In Kerry also is a thriving Village called Killarny;Killarny. and near it the famous Castle of Rosse; and a considerable Lead-Mine. From a place in this Shire, the Palmers, have taken their title of Earl of Castlemaine,Castlemaine. which being extinct, as to that Family, the place hath since given the title of ViscountSee Essex. to Sir Richard Child, Baronet, of the Kingdom of Great Britain. Beerhaven. In like manner, Beerhaven hath given the title of Viscount to the Family of Berkley; and now affords the same Title to the Family of Chetwynd. Also, the Families of Petty, and Herbert have derived their respective titles from hence; the first (who was before Baron Shelburn) advanced lately to the honour of Viscount Dunkieron, and also of Earl of Shelburn; and the second, who are Barons under the style of Castle-Island.⌉ Castle-Island.

A ridiculous persuasion of the wild Irish. Perhaps some would impute it to want of gravity in me, should I barely mention an Opinion, or rather a Belief and Persuasion, of the * * So said, ann. 1607.wild Irish, That he, who in the great clamour and outcry (which the Soldiers usually make before an Engagement) does not huzza as the rest do, is suddenly snatch’d from the ground, and carried through the air into these desolate Vallies, in what part of Ireland soever he be; that there he eats grass, laps water, has no sense of happiness or misery, has some remains of reason but none of speech, and that at long-run he is caught by the dogs in hunting, and brought back to his own home.

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Last updated Friday, March 7, 2014 at 13:06