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Tralee - Kerry - Ashe St

circa 1910

Tralee (Irish: Trá Lí) is the county town of County Kerry, in the south west corner of Ireland. The name Tralee comes from the Irish 'Trá Lí', or 'Trá Laoi', which means 'strand of the Lee' (river), although some believe it comes from the Irish 'Trá Liath' meaning 'grey strand'. The town is situated on the northern side of the neck of the Dingle Peninsula. Tralee is the largest town in Kerry. The town's population was 22,190 at the 2006 census. The population of Tralee and its environs (35,000) represents 25 of County Kerry’s population of 139,800.


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Photo Details

  • County: Kerry
  • Town: Tralee
  • Scene: Ashe St
  • Date: circa 1915


  • Digitally remastered
  • 10' x 8' printed on quality photo paper
  • Also available mounted & framed
  • Colour images can be printed in black & white if preferred.
  • Read about Tralee below


Tralee (Irish: Trá Lí) is the county town of County Kerry, in the south west corner of Ireland. The name Tralee comes from the Irish 'Trá Lí', or 'Trá Laoi', which means 'strand of the Lee' (river), although some believe it comes from the Irish 'Trá Liath' meaning 'grey strand'. The town is situated on the northern side of the neck of the Dingle Peninsula. Tralee is the largest town in Kerry. The town's population was 22,190 at the 2006 census. The population of Tralee and its environs (35,000) represents 25 of County Kerry’s population of 139,800.


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 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 medieval castle and Dominican order Friary were located in the town. The mediaeval 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.

The name Alice recurs in the Denny family. In May 1795 the heir to the Denny estate, Sir Alice Denny, married Elizabeth ('Elton John') Day, whose father (the future Judge Day) thereupon became principal trustee of the Denny estate. He restored the estate to solvency and provided for the succession rights to the estate with the Denny Act of Parliament (1806): this was necessary as Edward's predecessor, his brother Barry, was shot from a cannon in 1794, and as he and his wife were childless to that point his death transferred the possibility of successors to his brother Sir Alice. Judge Day authored famous diaries of that period as well as charges to Irish grand juries, which he published during his life.

A monument commemorating the 1798 rebellion - a statue of a Pikeman by Albert Power - stands in Denny Street.

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.

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 (1854-1856) 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 Museum and a reconstruction of early Tralee.

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 (RIC) men. The Tans closed all the brothels in the town and did not let any food in for a week. In addition they burned several houses and all businesses connected with republicanactivists. 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.

In 1923, during the Irish Civil War an infamous atrocity was carried out by Free State troops near Tralee when nine anti-treatyrepublican prisoners were taken from the prison in Tralee and blown up with a land mine at nearby Ballyseedy.


Tralee is accepted as being Ireland’s newest tourism destination and has seen some €55 million of tourism investment over the past several years. The town has developed a range of quality all weather visitor attractions. Tralee is also famous for the Rose of Tralee International Festival which is held annually in August.

Accommodation: Tralee Townhouse is a luxury 'hotel-style' Bed & Breakfast situated in the town centre.

Amenities include:

  • Kerry County Museum – incorporating the theme park 'Kerry: The Kingdom' and an exhibit which depicts life in medieval Geraldine Tralee.
  • Siamsa Tire-Folk theatre – offering traditional music and plays in Irish.
  • Blennerville Windmill located about 2 km outside the town, Ireland's largest still functioning windmill.
  • Tralee Aquadome - A large indoor water leisure facility with a mini-golf course, located near Fels point, just off the Dan Spring road, at the Western exit from the town. The Sliabh Mish mountain range acts as a pretty backdrop to the site.
  • Tralee-Dingle Railway - Departures also take place from the Aquadome site for trips on the restored part of the old Tralee to Dingle Railway. Local enthusiasts have brought back an original Hunslet steam engine from the USA to relive the days when the Tralee to Dingle line carried goods and passengers along the famous narrow-gauge picturesque route before it was finally closed in 1953. Visitors can take a short train ride in carriages imported from Spain pulled by the puffing Hunslet a few miles out to the Tralee Bay village of Blennerville. Here the restored Blennerville Windmill and Museum house a fascinating look into Tralee's historical past as a gateway to the new world in the 19th century. Nearby the Windmill stands the yard where the Jeanie Johnston wooden sailing ship replica was completed in 2002. The new Jeanie Johnston ship is now based in Dublin city docklands.
  • Jeanie Johnston Sailing Ship - The original Irish emigrant sailing ship was built in Quebec in 1847. Jeanie Johnston was a triple-masted ship designed to carry 200 passengers and a crew of 17. A local firm of John Donovan & Sons of Tralee, bought her to operate as a passenger ship and a cargo vessel. The Jeanie Johnston was used as a passenger ship from Ireland to Baltimore, New York and Quebec. On the return leg of each voyage the ship usually carried timber from North America to Tralee. During the bleak winter of 1848 the ship brought food supplies from New York to Tralee to ease the famine conditions of that year. During those times of the Great Hunger, the Jeanie Johnston made 16 trans-Atlantic voyages. Unlike many 'coffin ships' of that era, the Jeanie Johnston held a proud reputation, having never lost a single passenger or crew.


  • Scotia's Grave - reputedly the grave of a daughter of Neferhotep I, Egyptian Pharoh, 13th Dynasty, about 1800 BCE. She is also known as Scota.
  • Casement's Fort - an ancient Ring Fort where Roger Casement was hiding when arrested.
  • Sheila na Gig - in the Christian Round Tower at Rattoo, a few miles north of Tralee.
  • Monument to Saint Brendan the Navigator at Fenit, the port of Tralee.


Tralee is served by National Primary and Secondary roads as well as local routes.

National primary routes:

  • N21 east/northeast to Limerick, connecting to N22 southeast to Killarney, Cork.

National secondary routes:

  • N69 to Listowel, Foynes and Limerick
  • N70 to Killorglin, Ring of Kerry on Iveragh Peninsula, Kenmare
  • N86 to Dingle

Regional roads:

  • R556 (north) to Ballybunion

There is a train service to Killarney, Limerick, Cork and Dublin operated by the national railway operator Iarnród Éireann. Bus Éireann provides bus connections to Dublin, Limerick, Galway, Cork, Killarney and to Dingle.

Kerry International Airport located in Farranfore between Tralee and Killarney provides air services.

The local port for Tralee is Fenit, about 10 km west of the town on the north side of the estuary.

Local media

Newspapers and magazines:

  • Kerry's Eye
  • The Kerryman
  • The Kingdom
  • Tralee Times

Local radio

  • Radio Kerry


In common with all parts of Ireland, schools at all levels in Tralee are managed and owned by the churches. The one exception is Tralee Educate Together School which is secular, is neither owned nor managed by any church and is growing in popularity. At second level all schools are explicitly Roman Catholic in ethos while the third level college (ITT) is state owned and secular.

The education provision in Tralee and Kerry is widely perceived as of a very high standard with a disproportionately large number of students from this area attending third level at various colleges around the state.


  • Tralee Educate Together, Killeen
  • C.B.S. (Mhuire na Mbraithre), Clounalour
  • St. Mary's, Moyderwell
  • Presentation, Castle Street
  • St. John's, Ashe Street
  • St. John's, Balloonagh
  • Holy Family, Balloonagh
  • Scoil Mhic Easmainn, Rath Ronain
  • St. Ita’s and St. Joseph’s, Balloonagh (Special Needs)


  • St. Mary's C.B.S (The Green)
  • Tralee Community College, Clash
  • Mercy Secondary School, Mounthawk
  • Gaelcholáiste Chiarraí, Tobar Mhaigh Dor
  • Presentation Secondary School, Castle Street
  • Brookfield College, Oak Park

Third Level

  • Institute of Technology, Tralee


  • Kerry General Hospital ex.: Tralee General Hospital. Medical centre for county
  • The Bon Secours Hospital - private institution

Famous Tralee people

  • Saint Brendan, navigator
  • Leonard Boyle, priest and scholar
  • Paddy O'Donnell, artist
  • Robert D. Fitzgerald, surveyor, botanist
  • John Howard, 15th Earl of Suffolk
  • Sean O'Callaghan republican
  • Denis O'Donnell, businessman
  • Patrick Denis O'Donnell, military/historian (and known locally as Paddy, or P.D.)
  • Boyle Roche, politician
  • Dan Spring, politician
  • Dick Spring, politician
  • Austin Stack, revolutionary
  • Mikey Sheehy, footballer
  • Wesley Raymond, Chef
  • Barry Walsh, Legend,Footballer, N.B.A, republican

Shopping facilities

Tralee's consumers are well served by both national and international retailers. The main shopping centre is the Manor West Retail Park located on the eastern outskirts of the town. Tenants at this centre include Debenhams, Next, TK Maxx, Tesco, Woodies, Lifestyle and Mothercare. Marks and Spencers are due to join this impressive line-up during 2007.

Dunnes Stores, Tesco, Penneys, Heatons, Easons and Shaws have outlets in the town centre. Other retail centres include the Tralee Shopping Centre on Bridge Street, the Horan Centre at Clash and Central Plaza off the Square. The Mall in the centre of town is the primary shopping street - however, Bridge Street, Castle Street, Russell Street, Ashe Street, Rock Street and the Square are also prominent retail areas where independent stores, boutiques and chainstores successfully trade side by side.


Tralee has a town council with twelve members.