TRALEE, a market-town and seaport, and the chief town of Kerry, Ireland, is situated on the Ballymullen or Leigh river, about a mile from where it discharges itself into Tralee Bay, and on the Great Southern and Western Railway, 21 miles north-west of Killarney and 18 south west of Listowel. It is a neat, well-built, and comparatively prosperous town. The principal public buildings are the court-house, the town-hall, the corn exchange, the chamber of commerce, the workhouse, the infantry barracks, the county hospital, and the fever hospital. A ship canal, permitting the passage of ships of 200 tons burden, and constructed at an expense of 30,000, connects it with Tralee Bay. Coal, iron, and timber are imported, and there is a considerable export of grain. There is a large trade in butter. The population of the town in 1871 was 9506 and in 1881 it was 9396.
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 a charter in the 10th of James I., and had the privilege of sending two members to the Irish parliament. Though disfranchised at the Union, it obtained the privilege of returning one member in 1832, but in 1885 it was merged in the county.