Killorglin; ‘A Brief History’

Killorglin gets its name from the old church at Dromavalla which was dedicated to St Lawrence, hence Cill Lorcan (Lorcan being the Irish for Lawrence). The area was held by the Moriartys until they were expelled by the Mc Carthy Mores and was subsequently acquired by the Fitzgeralds. For a time the area was in the possession of the Knights Templar but later reverted to the Fitzgeralds. After the defeat of the Fitzgeralds in the Desmond Rebellion, the settlement was granted to Captain Jenkin Conway in 1587 who built Castle Conway on the site of an earlier Norman castle. Castle Conway was located where Kingston’s bar/The Castle is presently located. The 1842 O.S Map of Killorglin town, maps and mentions Castle Conway, however the 1894 O.S map shows us that Castle Conway was demolished by this time. The last known occupant of Castle Conway was Fr Luony Parish Priest who died in 1844. From the mid 1600s to the late 1700s the settlement was in the possession of the Blennerhassett family and subsequently passed to the Mullins family. According to Lewis’ Topographical Dictionary in 1837, the settlement was comprised of 200 houses with almost ‘1000 inhabitants living in the village’. Lewis also notes that the Laune was ‘navigable for vessels of up to 180 tons almost up to the village’. In 1836 Charles Bianconi commenced a two wheeled carriage service between Killarney and Caherciveen and between Tralee and Caherciveen. In 1865 a four wheeled carriage service was introduced, both of these services had a stopover in Killorglin. Unlike other towns, the layout of Killorglin has changed little over the last two centuries.