The anniversary of Tralee’s Charter, granted by King James on 26 September 1612, is marked by the publication of The History of Tralee, Its Charter and Governance (ISBN 978 0954790226). The book is a triumph of research recovery: there has been a kind of amnesia about urban history in Kerry, yet a number of gifted nineteenth- and early-twentieth-century historians, including Rev. Archdeacon Rowan (d. 1861), Mary Agnes Hickson (d. 1899) and the Rev. Sir Henry Lyttelton Lyster Denny (d.1953), did the important spade work that made this fine new book possible. Mr O’Carroll has added new research from the Journals of the old Irish House of Commons and the published primary sources of recent decades.
The earls of Desmond, who preceded the Dennys and ruled Tralee for about three hundred years, are well documented in this book. Tralee is central to the Desmond story. Holy Cross, founded by them for the Dominicans, became their burial place. The Dennys, Blennerhassetta and Herberts (at nearby Castleisland, before they moved to Muckross in the seventeenth century) arrived as part of the Munster Plantation and ruled the town to the dawn of democracy in the nineteenth century.
Maurice O’Connell, son of “The Liberator”, at the head of the democratic party, replaced Sir Edward as MP for the town at Westminster in 1832 at the end of a bitter election campaign. Shortly after, the old corrupt corporation was replaced by the more democratic town commission, precursor of the urban council. The old grand juries still governed the county and Tralee held on to its mp at Westminster until 1885.
Dr. Matthew Potter, B.A., Fellow in the History of Urban Government, University of Limerick, has written the following review:
“As well as being the definitive book on the history of Tralee, Gerald O’Carroll’s work is one of a growing number of works dealing with Irish urban history that combine scholarly research with a readable, accessible style. Attractively produced and well illustrated, it should find a place on every Irish bookshelf, at home and abroad.”
For other reviews visit the post Some Reviews of The History of Tralee Its Charter and Governance.