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Denny Street

Tralee with its location at the very edge of europe and just about 20,000 inhabitants may - at first glance - not seem to be very important. But if you bring a little time for a second, closer inspection you will soon be captured by the history and the open-hearted people of the lively town and the impressive nature of the whole region in the scenic southwest of Ireland. Founded in the early 13th century at the crossroads of ancient trade routes modern Tralee today looks back on 800 years of thrilling history. Reminders of the times gone by are still to be found at many places and buildings in the town, which has seen its fair share of wars and even some revolutions with all the changes those events brought for the town and the people. In the year 1580 big parts of the city fell victim to a major fire, which had been deliberately lit as a punishment for the citizens' support of the Tralee-based Earl of Desmond in a failed rebellion against the then occupying forces of the british throne. The castle of the Desmonds which was located near what is now the city center had been demolished after the resignation of the earls and many of the ancient bricks were later used for new buildings all around the center of Tralee.


The character of modern Tralee is determined by the broad and elegant Denny Street (picture above) with the impressive Ashe Memorial Hall (see also Activities) and the spacious town park surrounding St John's Church (picture right). A very special place in the town park is the recently created lovely "garden of the senses", where you can find an interesting assembly of motives from the irish and celtic mythology and well matched flowers from all over the world. Another must-see in the town park is the famous rose garden and - thanks to the mild climate of Kerry - there are surprisingly lots of subtropical plants. Even bananas are growing in Tralee!

Tralee Town Park

Like everywere in Ireland time has not been standing still in Tralee. The building boom of the last decade brought a number of new residential as well as office developments and modern shopping centres even to the very heart of the town (picture above). More are currently under construction, so Tralee will continue to grow and change its face in the years ahead. Hopefully the developers will respect the historic character of the 800 year old settlement and preserve it for the generations to come. By the way, some of the most futuristic new buildings of Tralee are to be found on the north campus of the Institute of Technology Tralee.

Tralee Shopping Centre

Numerous shopping opportu-nities are to be found all over Tralee. But sometimes it is not one of the shiny new glass palaces that holds the real treasures. Many of the side roads at first glance appear to be rather un-imposing, but will award the brave and interested explorer with insights into shrines of living shopping history.

The "Tralee Shopping Centre" for instance lets you experience a kind of shopping that you won't find in any of the several new retail parks. Buildings and shops like the one pictured here have managed to survive in some places, although discounters like Aldi, Lidl and Tesco have long arrived in Tralee.

Tralee Shopping Centre


Monumental buildings like the pictured Tralee Court House (erected 1835 by Sir Richard Morrison), the old mill and the nearby historic and unfortunately now unused warehouse are major landmarks of the recently redeveloped and partly pedestrianized ashe street. Visitors and residents can now choose from a range of shops, restaurants and street cafes.

The two martial cannon in front of the court house serve as a impressive reminder of the Kerry soldiers fallen while fighting in the crimean and the indian wars (1854-56 and 1857, respectively). Incidentially they seem to be pointing directly into the windows of the kerry protestant hall on the opposite side of ashe street. Bearing in mind that the overwhelming majority of the irish people is Catholic this may or may not be by chance. Another extensive pedestrian zone with a good choice of shops and cafes can be found surrounding the ever vibrant and also recently redeveloped town square (picture below), which is now used as the main city centre market- and eventplace.

Shopping Zone

Tralee Town Square