Churchill is the centre Ballynahaglish Parish. In Churchill , just across from the Church is Churchill House. Edward Denny (who lived around the time of Edwards reign in England) got Tralee town and also 6,000 acres west and north of Tralee , including land at Twlaght , on the condition that he'd build 46 houses for English Protestant families. Thus the Munster Plantation began . Churchill House was built as a refectory in 1741 by Rev. Barry Denny . It has been reconstructed several times since. Churchill House is currently owned by the Kreibhel family.
In the 17th and 18th Century the graves yards were owned by landlords. Churchill graveyard was , and still is next to Churchill House , 'Big House'.
In Churchill graveyard , two unnamed sailors are buried . They were washed up at Fenit in 1918. The oldest grave is inside the Church .
The Church was a Protestant Church built in 1916. It was still functioning in 1900 but in 1912 the roof fell in.
It is still standing today , but without a roof .
There was a thatch Catholic Church in Chapeltown which was built on the site of a pre reformation Church . A new Church called 'The Church of Purification' was built on a site given by Lord Listowel in Churchill in 1858 .A Baptismal Font dated 1802 now stands within the new Church providing a link with th origianal thatch church in Chapeltown.
Sir Henry Donovan built an downed Seafield House. He was a merchant and was the owner of the 'Jeanie Johnston' which was a famine ship which sailed from Fenit in the middle of the 19th century. Seafield is just one of many old houses that are standing today. Seafield House was later owned by the Mangan Family for a couple pf years . The Mercy nuns bought it from the Mangans. Seafield House is now derelict.
Barrow House was built in the 18th century. Captain William Collis, an officer in Colonel Shankey's Horse Regiment , was granted this land for service. He built a house on this land, The House we know as Barrow House . The Collis family lived a quiet life. They had a small band of steamers. One of these, called Peggy , sank at the mouth of Barrow Harbour and now a spot between the two rocks is called Poll Peggy. Barrow House is now a guest house and is still going strong today.
Fenit House was built by the Hurley Family in the Victorians times. When the last of the Hurleys' had left or died , Mrs. Filler inherited the house. Fenit House is a walled estate in the sea. There are two entances to the house , one to the east , the other the west. There was a gate lodge at each. The house is a long , low style bungalow. Mrs.Fuller had a son who died tragically swimming . His young wife stayed on at house , even after Mrs . Fuller died. Fenit House is still standing and in full working order.
The Steam Train
The steam train from Tralee to Fenit ran for nearly 100 years with stops in the Spa and in Kilfenora. Passenger trains ran in the morning and evening and there were frequent good trains carrying items such as coal, sugar, salt, grain, timber and cement.
The station house was sistuated in Kilfenora and for most of this time was used as a dwelling house. This was also the birthplace of much loved and respected member of the community, Mark O'Brien. The last train was in 1964 but the line was not officially closed until 1970.
Brendan The Navigator
Brendan the Navigator was born in the Fenit area in 484 A.D. He was most likely born in Fenit Island but Barrow, Tawlaught, Kilfenora and Listrim are also possibilities. His father was Finnulg of the Alltraighe, a sept of the Ciarraighe. His mother was Cara of the Corca Dhuibhne of west and south Kerry. His parents were Christian as were most people in the area at the time. They had a local bishop, Erc who was in residence in Kilviceadeaghadh on Kerry Head and had is see at Lerrig, not that far from Ardfert. Bishop Erc baptised Brendan at tobar na Molt and called him Breannain, because he saw a white mist covering all of Fenit on the night Brendan was born. In between the age of one and five, there are two stories of how he spent those years. The first is that Beccus Mac De told Airde mac Fiadaigh of Cathair Airde. The next day Airde went to Brendans parents and begged them to be Brendans foster father . The request was granted so Bredan spent four of his first five years growing up in Cathair Airde three miles east of , and overlokking Fenit island . The other story is that he lived with his parents , who were descendants of Fergus McRoy , Irelands high king in the first century , for the first year in his life . Then, following a tradition at the time , he returned home again and grew up with his 4 siblings , Domaingin , Faitleac , Faolan and Briga . Here he grew up into a man . Erc helped him with his studies teaching him scripture, mathematics, the classics and astronomy.
Brendan travelled to a lot of places enduring long hard journeys to get there. He travelled to Scotland, the Orkneyss, the Outer Hebrides, the Inner Hebrides, to St. Kilda, to Islay, to Bute and to Wales. all these voyages he made by sea.
Many monasteries and scools were founded by him, these being Llancarvan, St. David's, Ross, Skellig, Cork, The Glen, Inisfallen, Lismore, Inis Tuaisceart, Emly, Mt . Brendan, Fenit, Ardfert, Lerrig, Kilviceadeaghadh, Inis-da-drom, Doora, Kilfenora, Inismore,Inishee, Annaghdown, Inchquin, Tuam, Mayo, Westport and many, many more.
Brendan was eighty years old when he set off for America. Did he get there? Nobody knows. Tim Severn has in recent years said that Brendans voyage is indeed possible.
Brendan went to his sisters convent in Annaghdown. There Brendan embarked on his final journey - the one to heavan.
Nearly every village in Ireland had a forge , and every forge had a blacksmith. Our Forge was, and still is situated in Churchill . Mr .Fred Kreibhel from Chucrhill House paid for it to bre renovated and now the Forge's contents are on display to show people what life was like before.
Some landlords had their own Forge. Blacksmiths wouldn't just shoe horses , they would also make swords and spears .Some of the swords and spears were given as presents to relatives and some were kept for themselves .
The Forge in Churchill was owned by a man called Patrick (Paddy) Moriarty who lived in Chapeltown in the early 1800's. Ib 1918 the Forge was sold to Florence (Flurry) O'sullivan from Castlemaine. He married a girl from Lisodigue and her nephew Paddy O 'Sullivan from Knockane, Barrow worked in the Fordge until 1996.
Fenit Harobour Marina
One of the finest marinas on the south west coast of Ireland is Fenit Harbour Marina. It has approximately 120 berths for boats ranging in size from, 6 metres to 15 metres witjh one berth capable of talking boats up to 30 metres. There is access in all tides with a minimum depth of 5 metres. As well as all of the usual facilities, the marina also has video surveillance and a smart card acess. The marina also has facilities such as fuel, crane, showers, toilets, laundry, telephone and the disabled. In 2002, the marina was awarded a blue flag.
The coastguard , or the R.N.L.I as they are now known , has always played an important part in the lives of of fishermen in the area . In the 1840's especially , fishing was very popular . Transporting goods was the second job for the fisherman when the season was over . Produce and Merchandise were brought from the big Samphire islands and boats wered docked at the pier in the shallow part of Tralee Bay to Blenerville.
Upuntil 1848 the coastguard service was based in Kilfenora. However , in Kilfenora you were unable to see very far out of the bay , so a change of base was neccessary . A neat row of terraced houses were built for them in Fenit and they moved there. A bigger house was built for the head boatman.
In Fenit, they had to watch and record every boat that was coming in and out. They had to be ready to run to the boat as soon as they heard someone was in trouble.
The chief boatman at the station in 1901 was Thomas May. Also, in 1901 another station existed on a different site. In 1922 , this station became the Garda Barracks.
The first lifeboat came to fenit in 1879 and was called the ' Admiral Buthcher '. This boat had no engine and so had to reply on a sail and oars. It was moored off Great Samphire and was crewed by local men. A beautiful cut stone lifeboat house as built near ' The Blocksm '. This was used to store the gear needed to run the lifeboat.
In 1969 the lifeboat service was withdrawn from Fenit because of lack of rescue calls and so the lifeboat was no longer needed. It was returned to the Fuller family and used as a storehouse.
In 1994 the service was returned to Fenit and a beautiful new boat , the 'Ralph and Bonella Farrant' arrived . This was moored off the head of the pier.
The old lifeboat house is no longer used to store lifesaving gear and is now in private ownership.