TRALEE, a market town and seaport, and the county town of Co. Kerry, Ireland, on the Ballymullen or Leigh River, about a mile from its mouth in Tralee Bay, and on the Great Southern & Western railway. Pop. (1901), 9687. A ship canal, permitting the passage of ships of 200 tons burden, connects it with Tralee Bay. Large vessels discharge at Fenit, 8 m. westward, where there is a pier connected with Tralee by rail. Coal, iron and timber are imported, and there is a considerable export of grain. There is a large trade in butter. Railways serve the neighbouring seaside watering-places of Ballybunnion and Castlegregory, and the coast scenery of this part is grand and varied. Four miles north-west of Tralee is Ardfert, with its cathedral, one of the oldest foundations in Ireland, now united to the see of Limerick. St Brendan was its original founder, and it had once a university. A neighbouring round tower fell in 1870. Seven miles north of this again is the fine round lower of Rattoo.
Tralee, anciently Traleigh, the “ strand of the Leigh,” owes its origin to the foundation of a Dominican monastery in 1213 by John Fitz-Thomas, of the Geraldine family. During the reign of Elizabeth it was in the possession of Earl Desmond, on whose forfeiture it came into possession of the Dennys. At the time of the rebellion in 1641 the English families in the neighbourhood asked to be placed in the castle under the charge of Sir Edward Denny, but during his absence a surrender was made. The town was incorporated by James I., and returned two members to the Irish parliament. Though disfranchised at the Union in 1800, it obtained the privilege of returning one member in 1832, but in 1885 it was merged in the county division. It is governed by an urban district council.