GLENBEIGH PARISH

Glenbeigh Civil Parish, Barony of Iveragh, Co Kerry. Located at 52.0562N and 9.9403W. It has an area of 61.5 sq.km, 15196 acres , 23.7 sq. miles and 27 town lands. When you include Glencar there is a total of 51 town lands, 31000 acres and 48 sq. miles. In the county of Kerry there are 87 civil parishes, 2756 town lands, 1,188554 acres with a population of 147,554 people.

Glenbeigh village population is as follows:
1991 census 230 people.
1996. " 251. "
2002. " 330. "
2006. " 280. "
2011. " 285. "
2016. " 308. "

Age of people per 2016 census figures of 308 people are > 0 to 17 years = 44, 18 to 64 = 212 and Over 65 = 52 people. There were 265 Irish, 19 English and the remainder other nationalities. The population of the village is 308 and the parish is now over 1000.

Below are the 27 town lands of Glenbeigh with the number of acres in each.

Ballynakilly = 118 acres
" Upper. = 743 "
" Lower = 673
Ceanearagh = 950. "
Coolnaharrigle Upper. = 420 "
" Lower = 137 "
Coolroe. Upper = 506 "
" Lower = 244. "
Coomasaharn = 1081 "
Curra. = 257 "
Curraheen. = 657. "
" Little = 60 "
Droum East = 135 "
West. = 491 "
Faha. = 281 "
Gowlane. = 412 "
Gortdirragh. = 371 "
Kealdubh Upper = 825 "
" Lower = 281 "
Killnabrack Upper = 644 "
" Lower = 464 "
Killkeehagh = 655 "
Letter East = 213 "
" West = 1764 "
Reenanallagne = 288 "
Rossbeigh = 700 "

Translation of local place names.

Glenbeigh Gleann Beithe Glen of the birch trees.
Ballynakilly Baille na Cille Town of the church (Churchtown)
Curra Curra A weir
Coolnaharrigle Cuil na hEargaile. Corner of the house or habitation
Reennanallagne Rinn na nDealgan Point of the thorns
Killnabrack Cill na mBreac Church of the trout
Keeldubh Caol Dubh Black stream
Curraheen An Curraicin. Little Moor
Droum Drom. A ridge or long hill
Faha Faiche A green or lawn or playing field
Inchareach Ince Riach. Grey holm
Windy Gap Bearna na Gaoithe
Drung Hill Croc na Druinge Hill of the sept or clans
Letter Leitir. Wet lands
Goulane. Gablan. A little fork
Canearagh. Ceann Iartach Western Head
Coolroe. Cuil Ruad The red nook
Rossbeigh. Ros Beithe. Headland of the birch trees
Seefin. Sui Fionn Seat of Fionn Mac Cumhaill
Ballagh A road or pass
Inch Ince. A low meadow along a river (Island)
Bearna Gap
Beenmore Beenmor. Great peak
Killkeehagh Cill Chaoitheach St. Caoidhs church
Tir na nOg Land of eternal youth
Tonn Toime Magical waves (at Rossbeigh)
Mountain Stage Stad an tSleibhe Change horses for stagecoach
Coomasaharn Com Sathairn Saturday valley
Killeen Cillin Cemetery
High Road. An Bothar Ard

Other Irish language titles
An Beithe. River Behy
An Mhor Chuaird Ring of Kerry
Radharc na Mara Sea View
Ascal an Bhealaigh Avenue Drive
Sli Athlantaigh Fhiain Wild Atlantic Way
Cois na hAbhainn. Beside the river
Com(coom) A hollow
Ince Riagh Incharea (river meadow)
Others ; Treanmanagh, Scartnamackagh, Callananiska, Coomacilla.

This ballad was written in 1965 by Killorglin born Chrissie Hawes who lived in Glenbeigh for a period of time. She operated a bed and breakfast on the Station Road and was also an enthusiastic member of the local ICA guild. The ballad was revived and put to music by Tom O’ Sullivan, local writer and accomplished musician from Beaufort.

The music he cleverly chose to suit the song was The Green Fields of Rossbeigh, which we think was written by The Hanafin Brothers from Milltown. They were born in the late 1800’s and emigrated to America where they played Irish traditional music for the Irish diaspora and passed down the tradition. A monument in their honour can be seen in the square in Milltown, Co Kerry.

Glenbeigh by the Sea.

I’d like to tell you of a place
The like you’ve never seen.
Surrounded by the Curra Hills
With their forty shades of green.
Its golden sands and mountains grand
Are there for all to see
In this place in County Kerry
That’s called “Glenbeigh by the Sea

The people come and they stop
There taken by surprise
To think there is a place like this
Within the Emerald Isles
They look around and then they say
Of Heavens you have the key
In this place in County Kerry
That’s called “Glenbeigh by the Sea”

I take a walk down Rossbeigh Beach
And look at Dingle Bay
The waves so high they shatter shells
Their colours bright and gay
I see the faces of children
They laugh so merrily
In this place in County Kerry
That’s called “Glenbeigh by the Sea”

I’ve been to many, many lands
But this place I call home
I’ve seen New York and Paris
I’ve climbed the hills of Rome
But now I’m back I mean to stay
For all eternity
In this place in County Kerry
That’s called “Glenbeigh by the Sea”

Here’s another old Glenbeigh Ballad is:

MY BLUE-EYED MOUNTAIN QUEEN

It being the month of May, when fields were fresh and green
I was forced to leave my native home, my age being scarce eighteen.
And when I parted with dear, her loving tears were seen,
In troubled mind I left behind, My Blue-eyed Mountain Queen.

Farewell to Glenbeigh’s lofty hills and to those mountain stream
Where sun or moon right through the gloom pours forth it’s brilliant beam,
Her castle stands beneath hills, bound round with laurels green
But in America’s plan I’ll spend my days with My Blue-eyed Mountain Queen.

My father is a fisherman, he’s on the raging sea
My mother she through seven long years, sleeps beneath the clay,
My sister and my brother four, I regard them with esteem
But little they know I weep full sore for My Blue-eyed Mountain Queen.

God speed the ship across the deep that steers my love to me
The wind to fill her topsail wide to waft her o’er the sea
Her steel made bow has made a vow for to plough the waves between
And on her breast to bear the crest My Blue-eyed Mountain Queen

Puck Fair is over and now everyone in Mid Kerry is eagerly awaiting the Glenbeigh festival and races which run from the 23rd to the 25th of August 2019. The dates and times of the races are controlled by the tides on Rossbeigh beach. All races must be run between the tides and gives only about four hours to get racing done. But when did these races begin? There are no written records available, only anecdotal evidence. Local historians believe that the running of the races on the beach goes back as far as the end of the 1800s. It is almost certain that the races were held in 1903. The great Irish writer, John Millington Synge while holidaying at Mountain Stage mentions he spent the day at the Glenbeigh races in his writing. Cahirsiveen race meetings can be traced back to 1852 when the race course was donated to South Kerry by Daniel O’Connell. Horse racing was common in the mid 1800’s and every farmer owned at least one horse for working and transportation.

The Glenbeigh races must have died out for some period of time because we know that in 1924 that four local men came together to revive the meeting. This was short lived as on the same day they were issued with a court summons for not having a valid permit. Another successful attempt was made in 1957 which incorporated the races with a dance and the selection of the first dance queen in the Emir ballroom. It then went on to become a two day event and introduced jump racing and sulky racing. The festival encountered more problems in 1978 due to high insurance costs and it brought an end to the event. After a lapse of almost twenty years a new committee formed in 1996. They adopted a professional approach and after securing adequate sponsorship the white flag was raised and to this present day the races and festival have gone from strength to strength. In 2008 a new vibrant committee replaced the retiring 1996 team and now with their experience and professionalism the future of the festival looks certain to continue. It is now up to the people of the surrounding area to attend, support and ensure the future of this festival, now in its third century.