Lewis’ Topographical Dictionary, Co. Kerry

Lewis’ Topographical Dictionary comprises of several counties, cities, boroughs, parish and villages – with historical and statistical descriptions – of Ireland. Here are From-Ireland.net’s records for Co. Kerry.

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    FENIT, formerly called FENOR, an island parish, in the barony of CLANMAURICE, county of KERRY, and province of MUNSTER 7 miles (W. by N) from Tralee, on the north side of Tralee bay : the population is returned with the parish of Ardfert.

    Between this island and the main land, with which it is connected by a long narrow isthmus, is a small creek, called Barra harbour, fit only for small craft. It is entered from north by a narrow passage between rocky cliffs, nearly 100 feet high; and it is the opinion of scientific men that a sea wall might be constructed, and the whole of the creek drained ; and as it is not much used as a harbour, a large tract of valuable land would be thus brought into cultivation. The island, which is the proper Wm. Lock, Esq., has been latterly much improved by draining, and is remarkable for producing good crops of barley. Sea-weed and sand are procured in great abundance on its shores, and used for manure : the state of agriculture is improving. The manufacture of kelp was formerly carried on here to a considerable extent, but it has been long on the decline. Opposite Sampfire island are procured limestone flags of superior quality and unusual size, which have been used in construction of the Tralee ship canal. Between Samphire island and the south shore of Fenit is good anchorage, where vessels may take shelter from the prevalent north-easterly winds.

    It is a rectory, in the diocese of Ardfert and Aghadoe, and forms part of union and corps of the chancellorship of the cathedral of Ardfert : the tithes amount to £100.

    In the Roman Catholic divisions it is part of the union or district of Ardfert.

    There are some remains of an old church; and on north-eastern shore of the island, near the entrance of the harbour, are those of Fenit castle.