When we started this project – to record the history of this valley, particularly that which existed only in oral form or tradition – we did so with a number of beliefs and ideas in place. We hoped we would be able to prove or disprove some of these; along the way to add to this information, and eventually to build up a realistic image of this valley and some of the people who once lived here.
The geographical background to, and the natural history of, the region were reasonably straightforward to establish. While not specifically about Gleninchaquin, the many volumes describing the origins of the Kerry area can in general geographical and historical terms be applied here also.
Several descriptions of various parts of Kerry exist. Some are historical records kept alive for centuries through tribal storytelling and written down many years after the fact, eg The Annals of Inisfallen. Other documents include Surveys undertaken on behalf of the invading forces – eg The Down Survey (1691) or Griffiths Valuations (1852) from which we can glean much. These documents, and the descriptions recorded by early tourists to the area, often help, more than the dry facts of history, to give us today, a true understanding of what life was really like for the county’s earlier inhabitants – our ancestors, in many cases.
In comparison to other parts of Kerry, for example Killarney or the Dingle Peninsula, relatively little has been written or researched on this particular part of Tuosist. Very few records exist to tell us about the people who once lived here. It is not possible to go to the State or Church record books, to list out who was born, lived, worked, married or died and where, as few such details were ever recorded. Many Church records are non-existent or incomplete; many State records were lost to fire in Dublin in 1922.
Corkery tradition holds that the family originated in mid-Cork; that this branch started in Adrigole, migrating later to Drombohilly, and later still to Cloonee, when the present incumbent’s great grandfather, Patrick Corkery, came to work as a ploughman for the O’Sullivan’s of Cloonee, the local Ceatharnach or ‘middleman’ family. No-one knew how or why he had chosen this particular area. We did know that he had settled initially near Inchinlough, the next townland down the valley, but had no dates or age