Kinard: a Sense of Place

Kinard is a townland of over 500 acres located in the parish of the same name in West Kerry.

A townland is the smallest land divisionand there are over 62,000 townlands in the Country altogether. Many townlands are comprised of just a few hundred acres. The townland became standardised in the 17th century when the Englishcolonists first began to undertake land surveys. With the establishment of estates and the Landlord system the townland was accepted as a recognised land division.

A feature of the land surveys was the anglisation of the ancient Gaelic placenames.The English surveyors were not familiar with the Gaelic versions of the placenames. Hence the variety of spellings of townlands and the confusion that can arise as to its original meaning.

The townland's name often derives from some topographical feature within its boundaries.Kinard is derived from the Gaelic Ceann Ard - meaning high head, denoting high ground.

Kinard Remembered

One of the most important pieces of the jigsaw of compiling a family history is knowing the exact place or townland where your ancestors originated.

Many people start their search with scant information - they may only know the county of origin.

Finding out exactly where your forebears came from is a breakthrough that leads to further discoveries. You can be directed to records such as parish registers and census records. You can inspect ordnance survey maps and can make a pilgrimage to the very townland where your forebears lived.

Thomas Ashe retained a nostalgia and affection for Kinard throughout his life.

He found great solace in the place of Kinard and pastoral beauty of his inactive townland.

During one summer holiday back in Kinard he writes

The whole country has a look of peace and quiet, and it would delight one to hear the children playing down in Kinard. I always like to hear the laughter of children, and I can hear them now plainly down near Mai's new house.

On another occasion in 1913 he writes to his brother Gregory in Boston painting a word picture of a summer's day in Kinard.

I am lying up here on the top the Carraig. There is a nice breeze of gaothanoir blowing. I came up specially to paint a picture of the landscape to the west but owing to the heavy haze that is over the land I think I won't mind this evening. I can see just as for as Ventry to the west and the sea is as calm as a lake. The trawlers are all going in after spending the day over near Inch, and I can see Mick Hanafin fishing bass down at the Carraig. From where I am I can see all the neighbours working all round in the fields. Our people are below in the long Gort a "Speiche;" they have all the rest cut down. Flahive is finishing his last field, the near Seantoir, and Mat has all cut down and al hands are working at the new house these days. They are finishing one chimney today and they will have the whole building done this week


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