KERRY TOPOGRAPHY

From A Topographical Dictionary of Ireland, 1837

Kerry is the most western county of Ireland, and the fourth in extent; it is surpassed by many in fertility. From its aspect it seems well adapted to become a valuable tillage country, but, though improvements have been very rapid of late years, a great part of it lies still in a very unproductive condition. The northern part lying towards the Shannon is comparatively low. From the mouth of the river Cashen to Kerry Head, which forms the south side of the mouth of the Shannon, stretches a bank of upland which is chiefly a heathy moor, and near Kerry Head rises to a considerable elevation. The coast towards the ocean is partly high sand hills and partly steep cliffs, on which the ruins of some dismantled castles are boldly situated: that of Doon stands almost perpendicularly over the ocean.

The northern tract of low country has on its south a range of upland, rising gradually into the boundaries between Limerick and Cork: this upland, in passing eastward, expands to a great width. Still more southerly is an extensive range of mountains, many of the summits of which are among the highest in Ireland: they commence at the eastern side of the bay of Dingle, and, with little interruption, pass along the southern side of the lake of Killarney and onward to the county of Cork, embracing some deep and extensive vales. The general aspect of this part of the county is rude: the valleys are commonly occupied with bog, round the upper edge of which, and along the margins of the streams, are narrow stripes of cultivated land, behind which the mountains rise to an elevation of from 1500 to 2000 feet, presenting bold rocky cliffs towards the bay of Dingle and the Atlantic.

The southern baronies of Iveragh, Dunkerron, and Glanerough are the wildest and most uncultivated tracts in the county: the last-mentioned, which takes its name from the river Roughty, that flows through it, is separated from the adjoining barony of Bere, in the county of Cork, by a range of lofty mountains, the greater part of which was formerly the estate of the O'Sullivans. Macgillycuddy's Reeks, in North Dunkerron, are the highest mountains not only in the county, but in Ireland; their most elevated summit, called Carran Tual, or Gheran Tuel, being 3410 feet above the level of the sea. Mangerton is next in height. Towards the west are the mountains of Drung and Callee, the highest summits of the range that separates the baronies of Iveragh and Dunkerron. This chain proceeds eastward to the south of the lakes of Killarney, along Tomies mountain, Glena, Torc, Mangerton, Crohane, and the Paps, which latter are particularly remarkable for the regularity of their convex or conical form. The range of which they form a part is connected with the hills of Glanflesk, which overhang O'Donoghoe's country.

North and east of Tralee are the ranges called Stack's mountains and the Glanruddery mountains: and between the harbours of Castlemaine and Tralee is a range of high mountains, called Slieve Mish, attaining an elevation of upwards of 2200 feet; and hence mountains extend westward into the peninsular barony of Corkaguiney under various names, among which, one of remarkable conical shape is called Cahir-conrigh. Considerable tracts of these mountains have been improved and brought into tillage. This barony is esteemed the granary of the county: the northern side, called Litteragh, is richly cultivated, and rendered very productive by the great facility of obtaining sea manure. Brandon hill rises to a great height, and its top or sides are often enveloped in clouds. From the base of the mountains various brooks run into both bays. From the southern coast a long peninsula of sand hills, called Inch island, extends into the bay of Castlemaine.

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