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"VALENCIA, or KILMORE, an island and a parish, in the barony of IVERAGH, county of KERRY, and province of MUNSTER; 27 miles (S. W.) from Milltown, and 184 from Dublin; containing 2614 inhabitants. The island, which is five miles in length and of an average breadth of two miles, and contains 6418 statute acres, lies in a direction from south-west to north-east along the coast of Kerry, from which it is seperated on the north, east and south-east by Lough Key and Valentia Harbour; the Atlantic washes it on the other sides. The harbour, which is formed by the strait or channel between the island and the mainland, may be entered both from and south; it is well sheltered, has deep water, and vessels passing through are exposed to little danger from shoals or sunken rocks: to the north of it is Beg innis island. Oliver Cromwell caused forts to be erected at each end of Valentia to guard the passage and prevent it from being used as a place of shelter by hostile privateers; the remains of these are still to be seen. In 1710, the Irish House of Commons passed a vote for the construction of a fort on the island, in consequence of its exposure to pirates: a signal tower has since been built on Bray Head, at its southern point. The entrances to the island are by ferries; the principal is on the northern side, where the road from Cahirciveen terminates at Renard Point; the other, on the south, is near Portmagee. The number of houses is 480, mostly scattered through the country and of a single storey high; but within these few years a village called the Foot has been formed at its north-eastern end, where there are a good inn and a dispensary, and petty sessions are held on the first Tuesday in the month. Storehouses for merchandise have been erected there. Near the village is a quay, built under the directions of the late Fishery Board, at which vessels of 200 tons can lie; there is also a small quay on the opposite shore of the mainland at Renard Point. This part of the harbour has been laid down as the point from which vessels will weigh for New York, in case the proposed rail-road across Ireland from Dublin to Renard Point be carried into effect. The exports consist of corn, butter and slates; the imports, which are chiefly from Liverpool, of iron, coal, and timber. This island, from its great fertility, was looked upon as the granary of the south-west of Ireland, previously to the facilities that have been lately afforded for the transmission of agricultural produce through the interior by the construction of well-planned and well-constructed roads. The population is engaged in agriculture, the fisheries, and the quarries; at present it appears that the demand for labour is so great that the women are employed not only in the out-door labours of tillage, but in some of the occupations of the quarries.
About 400 persons are exclusively occupied in the fisheries, in which 100 seine boats and 150 yawls are engaged. The slate quarry on the Knight of Kerry's estate at Doghilli, on the western shore, is profitably worked and gives employment to 150 men: the slate, which is of very fine quality, is now mostly cut into flags of considerable dimensions, which are chiefly exported to London, where they are in great demand for flooring cellars and warehouses: the women assist in shipping the slates.
The living is a rectory and vicarage, in the diocese of Ardfert and Aghadoe, and in the patronage of the Crown: the tithes amount to 150 British.
The church, situated at the north-eastern extremity of the island, is a small plain building, with a square tower, erected in 1815. In the R. C. divisions the island constitutes a seperate parish: the chapel is nearly in its centre.
The ruins of the old church are to be seen in the burial-ground, which is still used as a place of interment by the Catholic inhabitants. "
[From A Topographical Dictionary of Ireland by Samuel Lewis (1837)]


Note: The Civil Parish of Valencia ceased to be used for census purposes in the mid nineteenth century when District Electoral Divisions (DEDs) were introduced.

The Civil Parish of Valencia is identical with the DED of the same name.

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Census Substitutes

A transcription of Griffiths Valuation for Valencia Parish from the Kerry Rootsweb site.
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Church History

The old church of Valencia (Kilmore) was in the townland of Farranreagh, in the old parish burial ground. Following the reformation this church passed to the Church of Ireland, but was quickly abandoned, and is now a ruin.
The modern Church of Ireland church is in the village of Knightstown. Valencia was united with Cahir in 1923.

In the Roman Catholic church, Valentia parish was created in about 1819. The first church was at Chapeltown. A second church has now been constructed at Knightstown.

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Church Records

The following Church of Ireland registers exist:
Baptisms and Burials 1826 - 1875
The registers are in local custody.

The following Roman Catholic registers remain:
Baptisms March 7, 1825 - July 5, 1864
Marriages Feb. 8, 1827 - April, 1856
Baptisms May 15, 1867 - Dec. 14, 1880

The registers remain in the custody of the parish priest, although microfilm copies are at the National Archives of Ireland. Written permission from the Bishop of Kerry is required to view these records.
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Civil Registration

From 1863 Valencia was in the Caherciveen Superintendant Registrar's District, and the Registrar's District of Valentia. See the Registration Districts page.

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Description and Travel

Cathal Guiney's Valentia Island Website
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A Location Map of the Parish
A Map showing the Townlands of Valencia
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[Last updated: 04-Nov-2004 10:14 AM - Laurence Jones]