County Kerry Elections past and present

Michael O’Donohoe’s interest in psephology and political history is borne out in the quantity of collection material relating to elections and electors in the nineteenth century and in modern times.


Indeed, in 1982, Tom McEllistrim, Minister for State at the Department of Finance, wrote to Michael, ‘You mentioned that you were interested in the PR system … I am enclosing the Election Results Handbooks for Dáil and Seanad which contain the general outline of the system as it operates in respect of both …’.1


Nineteenth century politics


The nineteenth century material relates to the election of 1833, in which year the number of registered electors was 210.2


Michael’s record informs that the Borough of Tralee was incorporated in 1612 by James I in the tenth year of his reign.  Robert Blennerhassett was the first provost (head of the corporation) of Tralee in 1613.


Kerry County Council offices in Tralee today


The history of the office of provost was summed up by Tralee author, Anne Margaret Rowan, whose political works include History of Ireland, as disclosed by Irish Statutes:3


The first act journalized in the Commons Journal for Ireland 1613 is a breach of privilege committed against the honourable member for Tralee Robert Blennerhassett MP … this Robert Blennerhassett was constituted by the charter ‘first and modern provost of the said Borough’.  In like manner the first twelve burgesses were appointed … Unfortunately there is no Roll of the Burgess men who were afterwards elected of an earlier date than the year 1767.



Miss Rowan, who provided the Burgess Roll of Tralee from 1767 in extensio, explained that ‘from 1611 to 1840 local government was used or abused in Tralee … in 1840 the provost, burgess men and old corporation of Tralee merged into the present Town Council, now the ruling power in our town’.4


Rev Arthur Blennerhassett Rowan, the last provost of Tralee, was sworn in 1839.  In 1888, William Talbot Crosbie – ‘of the old school’ – was the last:


The death of Mr Pierce Chute of Ballyroe who was elected ‘a free Burgess of the Borough of Tralee on the 24th June 1836’ leaves only one of the old Burgess men alive, and that man, who was the last Burgess man elected 30th March 1840, is Mr Talbot-Crosbie of Ardfert Abbey … There still exists an interesting memorial of one of our first Burgess men, the old font in our present parish church having been presented by J C John Curlestone.


William Talbot Crosbie


Modern day voting


In more recent times, Michael O’Donohoe studied elections in Kerry during the period 1977 to 2002 – the material includes a number of published books, booklets and pamphlets.  In addition, the collection contains a small quantity of material relating to the UK election of Tony Blair in 1997, the UK election of 2001 and the Assembly voting figures of 1998.5


Deenihan to Ferris: illustration of Michael’s concise notes


See the links below to access a selection of research material in this series.


IE MOD-25-25.1-25.1.2
Statistics on Mid Kerry voting for the periods 1985, 1991 and 1999


IE MOD-25-25.2-25.2.1

‘Kerry Co Council 1991 June 27’ contains names of representatives and voting statistics for Killarney, Mid-Kerry, Killorglin, Tralee and Listowel constituencies


IE MOD-25-25.3-25.3.1
Statistics relating to Mid Kerry elections of 1985, 1991 and Tralee 1999


IE MOD-25-25.4-25.4.2
Statistics for the years 1977 to 1997 relating to Kerry North


IE MOD-25-25.4-25.4.3
Statistics for the years 1977 to 1997 relating to Kerry North


IE MOD-25-25.4-25.4.5
Page 1 (of 2) statistics for the years 1977 to 1987 relating to Kerry North, entries numbered 21 to 25, column headings: Population/Elect/Poll/Spoiled/Valid/Quota

IE MOD-25-25.4-25.4.6
Page 2 (of 2) statistics for the years 1989 to 2002 relating to Kerry North, entries numbered 26 to 29


IE MOD-25-25.4-25.4.7
Statistics relating to Brosna, Castleisland, Convent, Kilmurry, Knockbrack, Knocknagoshel, Loughfouder, Lyre, Tooreenard in respect of Deenihan, Foley, Kiely, McEllistrim, Spring, Leen and Ferris


IE MOD-25-25.5-25.5.1
Statistics for Kerry South for the period 1977 to 1997 relating to Kerry South


IE MOD-25-25.5-25.5.2
Statistics for the years 1977 to 1997 relating to Kerry South


IE MOD-25-25.6-25.6.1
Statistics for Kerry South for the period 1977 to 1997

IE MOD-25-25.6-25.6.2
Statistics for Kerry South and Kerry North for the periods 1987 to 1992 an 1982 to 1992 respectively

IE MOD-25-25.6-25.6.3
Statistics for Kerry South for the period 1977 to 1997


IE MOD-25-25.6-25.6.5
Statistics for the year June 1989


IE MOD-25-25.6-25.6.11
Statistics relating to Kerry North elections, first count percentages and Spring and Deenihan’s surplus for the period 1987 to 1997


IE MOD-25-25.6-25.6.13
‘Kerry South Feb 1982’ information on electorate, valid poll, spoiled and quota (seven candidates)


IE MOD-25-25.6-25.6.14
Statistics on elections for the period 1977 to 1987 with particular reference to candidates


IE MOD-25-25.6-25.6.15
‘Kerry North’ statistics on elections for the period 1977 to 1997

IE MOD-25-25.6-25.6.16
‘Kerry North’ statistics on elections for the period 1977 to 1997

IE MOD-25-25.6-25.6.23
‘General Election Tuesday 17th February 1987’ contains statistics for Kerry North

IE MOD-25-25.6-25.6.26
‘Kerry North’ analysis of candidates including statistics

IE MOD-25-25.6-25.6.28
‘Kerry North’ statistics 1977 to 1997. Includes names of presidents from 1938 to 1997

IE MOD-25-25.6-25.6.30
‘Kerry North’ statistics 1977 to 1989 in descending order.  Content organised in columns by candidates

IE MOD-25-25.6-25.6.32
Statistics for elections 1977 to 1987 with particular reference to candidates


IE MOD-25-25.7-25.7.1
Notes on candidates and statistics for the period 1982 to 1992; includes a note on the first count


IE MOD-25-25.7-25.7.2
Notes on candidates and statistics for the period 1987 to 1992


IE MOD-25-25.7-25.7.3
Notes on government ministers and departments and statistics for the years 1977 to 1992


IE MOD-25-25.8-25.8.2
Results of General Election Tuesday 17 February 1987 Kerry South


1 IE MOD/25.  50-pg soft-back book, Seanad General Election, August 1977 and Bye-elections to 1973-77 Seanad published in Dublin by Seanad Éireann and 64-pg soft-back book, Election Results and Transfer of Votes in General Election (June 1981) for Twenty-Second Dáil and Bye-Elections to Twenty-First Dáil (1977-1981), title in English and Irish, published by Dáil Éireann, The Stationery Office, the back of which book contains three constituency maps for Ireland, Cork and Dublin.
2 IE MOD/47.
3  Published in 1893.  A sketch of Miss Rowan is found in Memories of Old Tralee (2016) by Miss A M Rowan, produced to celebrate Tralee 800 (1216-2016).
4 An edited list of the burgess of Tralee is as follows:

1767 Samuel Morris Esq, Burgess
1767 Barry Denny Esq, Provost
1768 Barry Denny Esq, Provost
1770 Barry Denny Esq, Provost
1771 Samuel Morris, Provost
1771 John Lake 'gent ... free Burgess in room of Arthur Herbert Esq deceased'
1772 Edward Denny Esq, Provost [to 1774]
1775 Richard O'Connell
1775 Rev Maynard Denny
1775 Rev Maynard Denny, Provost [to 1777]
1777 George Gun jnr Esq 'sworn free Burgess in place of Denny Benson gent deceased'
1778 Barry Denny [to 1779]
1779 Nathaniel Payne Esq 'a free Burgess of Tralee'
1780 Barry Denny, Provost [to 1781]
1782 Thomas Collins Esq 'a free Burgess'
1782 Sir Barry Denny, Provost
1783 Thomas Collins Esq, Provost 'in the place of Sir Barry Denny'
1783 Thomas Collins, Provost [to 1784]
1785 Maurice O'Connor Esq 'a free Burgess'
1785 Thomas Collins, Provost [to 1788]
1788 Barry Denny 'Burgess'
1788 Edward Denny Esq 'Burgess'
1789 Thomas Collins, Provost
1790 George Gun, Provost
1790 Edward Denny Esq 'Burgess'
1791 George Gun, Provost [to 1794]
1795 Sir Edward Denny [to 1796]
1797 Robert Day Esq, Provost
1798 Hon Justice Day, Provost
1799 Sir Edward Denny, Provost [to 1800]
1801 Rev Maynard Denny, Provost [to 1802]
1803 William Rowan [to 1805]
1806 Sir Edward Denny, Provost
1807 William Rowan [to 1811]
1812 Samuel Morris, Provost
1813 Rev Barry Denny of Frogmore elected and sworn free Burgess
1813 Samuel Morris, Provost [to 1816]
1817 Samuel Morris, High Provost of Tralee
1817 Edward Denny jnr Esq of Tralee Castle in the County of Kerry was this day admitted a Freeman of the Corporation of Tralee by grace especial having been duly elected a said member of said Corporation.  Dated 24th day of June 1817
1818 Samuel Morris, Provost
1818 Charles Herbert 'free Burgess'
No date Robert Hickson Esq 'free Burgess'
1819 Samuel Morris, Provost [to 1822]
1823 Robert D Denny Esq of King's End, Worster, in the County of Kerry was this day admitted a Freeman 29th of September
1824 Arthur B Rowan Esq, 'Burgess'
1824 The Rev Arthur B Rowan of Tralee ... admitted a free man of the Corporation of Tralee 23 day of September
1824 Pierce Chute Esq, Provost
1825 Caleb Chute, Burgess
1825 Caleb Chute, Provost
1826 Maynard Denny Esq, Burgess
1826 Pierce Chute, Provost
1827 Caleb Chute, Provost
1828 Pierce Chute,Provost
1829 Rev Henry Denny, Burgess
1829 Caleb Chute, Provost
1830 Pierce Chute, Provost
1831 Caleb Chute, Provost
John J Hickson Esq elected Burgess in place of Stephen Edward Rice, deceased
1832 William Denny, Burgess
1832 Pierce Chute, Provost
John Bateman Esq of Oakpark elected free Burgess Feb 20 1833
John Hurly Esq of Tralee elected free Burgess Feb 20 1833
Maurice O'Connor Esq, Provost
1833 Arthur Blennerhassett Esq of Ballyseedy admitted free Burgess 20 February
1835 Francis Chute of Spring Hill elected free Burgess 6 June
1835 George Gun of Plover Hill elected free Burgess 6 June
1835 Thomas Blennerhassett Esq, Shanavalla elected free Burgess 6 June
Pierce Chute Esq, Provost (no date)
1836 Rev Arthur Blennerhassett Rowan, Provost
1836 Robert A Thompson Esq of Tralee, Burgess 25 June
1836 Richard Chute Esq of Spring Hill, Burgess
1836 Caleb Chute, Burgess
1836 John Hurly Blennerhassett Esq of Tralee, Burgess
1837 Rev Arthur Blennerhassett Rowan, Provost
1838 William Denny Esq, Burgess
1838 William Denny Esq of Tralee, now sworn Provost
1839 Rev Arthur Blennerhassett Rowan, Provost
1840 William Talbot-Crosbie of Ardfert, Burgess

The record concluded with the expiration of office of Rev A Blennerhasset Rowan on 29 September 1840.  Evidently Lord Kenmare, having failed to secure an appointment for Rev Rowan to the Commission of the Peace, approached Rev Rowan for a recommendation of 'any two gentleman resident in Tralee' qualified for the role. It appears that Rev Rowan recommended 'Mr Hilliard' (full account in Kerry Evening Post, 20 June 1888).

5 IE MOD/56.