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Irish: Trá Lí
County Kerry
The Rose Garden , Town Park, Tralee - - 332932.jpg
Roses in Tralee's town park
Grid reference: Q828141
Location: 52°16’3"N, 9°41’46"W
Population: 23,693  (2011)
Local Government
Kerry North-West Limerick

Tralee is the county town of County Kerry in the south-west of Ireland. The town is on the northern side of the neck of the Dingle Peninsula, and is the largest town in County Kerry. The town's population including suburbs was 23,693 in the 2011 census.[1]

The town's name is from the Irish Trá Lí, meaning "Strand of the Lee", after the town's river.

The local port for Tralee is Fenit, about six miles west of the town on the north side of the estuary. Catering for ships of up to 17,000 tons, the port is a picturesque mixed-use harbour with fishing boats and a thriving marina (136 berths).


Situated at the confluence of some small rivers and adjacent to marshy ground at the head of Tralee Bay, Tralee is located at the base of a very ancient roadway that heads south over the Slieve Mish Mountains. On this old track is located a large boulder sometimes called Scotia's Grave, reputedly the burial place of an Egyptian Pharaoh's daughter. The Norman town was founded in the 13th century by Anglo-Normans and was a stronghold of the Earls of Desmond. A mediæval castle and Dominican order Friary were located in the town. The mediæval town was burnt in 1580 in retribution for the Desmond Rebellions against Elizabeth I.

Tralee was granted to Edward Denny by Elizabeth I in 1587 and recognised by royal charter in 1613. Sir Edward was the first of the Dennys to settle in Tralee and from a recent history of Tralee by Gerald O'Carroll that only in 1627 did the Dennys actually occupy the castle of the earls of Desmond. Sir Edward's son was Arthur Denny, in whose lifetime the town's charter was granted by King James, containing the right to elect two members of parliament. The third settler, another Sir Edward, married Ruth Roper, whose father Thomas Roper was the lease holder of the Herbert estate centred on Castleisland. This Sir Edward was a royalist. He fought for the King in the wars of 1641. He died in 1646, before the triumph of Cromwell over affairs in England and Ireland. He granted "the circuit of the Abbey" to the corporation set up under the charter, in return for the fees of the town clerk. His son Arthur married Ellen Barry, granddaughter of Richard Boyle who during his life held many land titles in West Kerry and who also claimed property in Tralee. Sir Edward Denny, 4th Baronet was a notable landlord in his day: especially during the time of the Great Famine when instead of increasing his rents as so many landlords did at that time he maintained rents to suit his tenants. He was a notable Plymouth Brother.

The modern layout of Tralee was created in the 19th century. Denny Street, a wide Georgian street was completed in 1826 on the site of the old castle. A monument commemorating the 1798 rebellion – a statue of a Pikeman by Albert Power – stands in Denny Street.

Tralee Courthouse was designed by Sir Richard Morrison and built in 1835. It has a monument of two cannons commemorating those Kerrymen who died in the Crimean War (1854–56) and the Indian Rebellion (1857).

The Ashe Memorial Hall sits at one end of Denny Street, dedicated to the memory of Thomas Ashe - an Irish Volunteers officer in the Easter Rising of 1916. The building is built of local sandstone and houses the Kerry County Museum and a reconstruction of early Tralee.

The Dominican church of the Holy Cross was designed by the Gothic Revival architect Augustus Pugin in the 19th century

Tralee saw much violence during the Irish War of Independence and Irish Civil War in 1919–1923. In November 1920, the Black and Tans besieged Tralee in revenge for the IRA abduction and killing of two Royal Irish Constabulary men. The Black and Tans closed all the businesses in the town and did not let any food in for a week. In addition they burned several houses and all businesses connected with Irish Republican Army activists. In the course of the week, they shot dead three local people. The incident caused major international outcry when reported by the press, who wrote that near famine conditions were prevailing in Tralee by the end of the week.

Places of interest

Blennerville Windmill

Tralee is a tourism destination and has seen some €55 million of tourism investment over the past several years. Tralee is also famous for the Rose of Tralee International Festival which is held annually in August.

The town has developed a range of all weather visitor attractions.

  • Kerry County Museum: incorporating the theme park 'Kerry: The Kingdom' and an exhibit which depicts life in mediæval Geraldine Tralee.
  • Siamsa Tíre: Ireland's National Folk Theatre, offering traditional music and plays in Irish.
  • Blennerville Windmill: located about 2 km outside the town, Ireland's largest functioning windmill.
  • Tralee Aquadome: A large indoor water leisure facility with a mini-golf course.
  • Kerry Camino: A walk modelled on the Camino de Santiago walk of Northern Spain that follows a route Tralee to Dingle and invites participants to walk in the footsteps of Saint Brendan the Navigator.

Archaeological sites

  • Casement's Fort: an ancient Ring Fort where Roger Casement was hiding when arrested.
  • Sheela na Gig: now located in the Christian Round Tower at Rattoo, Ballyduff, a few kilometres north of Tralee.
  • Monument to St Brendan the Navigator at Fenit: with reproductions of ancient Irish structures.
  • Caherconree: Iron Age Fort overlooking Tralee Bay

In addition to the above, a considerable number of archaeological sites around Tralee and throughout the County of Kerry, especially ring-forts, are listed for preservation in the Kerry County Development Plan 2009–15.[2]


  • The town has four local newspapers, The Kerryman, Tralee outlook, tralee advertiser and The Kerry's Eye, published in Tralee.
  • The town has a commercial radio station, Radio Kerry, which commenced operations in 1990.


  • Na Gaeil GAA club is based in the Oakpark area of Tralee.
  • John Mitchels GAA club, based in the Boherbee area
  • Kerins O'Rahilly's GAA club, based in the Strand Road area
  • Austin Stacks GAA club, based at the top of the rock
  • Tralee Harriers Athletics Club
  • Tralee Triathlon Club, formed in 1999
  • Football:
    • Tralee Dynamos
    • Park FC
  • Rugby:
    • Tralee Rugby Football Club
  • Tralee Tennis Club is based on the Dan Spring Road.
  • Fitzgerald-Jones Handball Club
  • County Badminton Club meet in the Presentation Secondary School Gym.
  • Tralee Greyhound Racing has a stadium on Brewery Road.
  • Kingdom Swimming Club are based at the Sport Complex in Tralee.
  • St Brendan's Basketball Club play in the national leagues.
  • Tralee Bicycle Club was founded in 1992.
  • The Chain Gang Cycling Club is a Tralee-based cycling club founded in 2008.
  • Tralee Golf Club is based in Barrow and the Arnold Palmer designed course is consistently voted one of the top links in the world.
  • Tralee Bay Sailing Club based in Fenit.
  • Tralee Rowing Club was founded in 2004 and is located near the centre of the town.
  • Tralee Bay Swimming Club based in Fenit


Outside links

("Wikimedia Commons" has material
about Tralee)