The Big House in Kerry: A Social History

Edited by Jane O'Hea O'Keeffe

Regular price €49.00

2022, Irish Life and Lore

Paperback, 328 pages               


This book draws together the work of twelve contributors, each of whom delves into the history of the one of the county’s big houses and the families who lived in them.

Part of the impetus for this book was a desire to chart the origins, development and decline of Kerry’s network of big houses, and to reclaim from the ruins details of their elegant architecture and their elaborate interiors. It was equally important, however, to reinvest the ruins – and indeed the houses that endure – with the voices and experiences of the men and women who lived there, the people who sent sons to war, served on Grand Juries or at Westminster, managed or buckled under debt and navigated the twilight of the Anglo-Irish ascendancy in Ireland. Some remarkable women lived in these houses, women whose strength, foresight and hard work left an enduring impression on their localities. Their experiences and the experiences of local people who worked in or supplied the big houses are also reclaimed in this volume which seeks to provide an overview of life as it was lived in the Big House.

The book is Illustrated with a wide selection of rare images including, in many cases, previously unpublished photographs donated by the families themselves, and each chapter adds to our understanding of the origins of these grand structures, the fortunes and misfortunes of the families who lived and loved there, and the intricate connections between them.