Known as "the kingdom" to its inhabitants, Kerry is one of the most singular places in Ireland, with rich farmlands in the north of the county and astonishingly beautiful mountains, Atlantic islands and peninsulas in the south.
The Ciarrai, from whom the name of the county derives, invaded and occupied the region in early historical times. They claimed descent from Ciar, son of Fergus, a legendary king of Ulster. In the middle ages Kerry was divided between the kingdoms of Thomond in the north and Desmond in the south, dominated by the O'Briens and the McCarthys respectively. It was later dominated by the Norman Fitzgeralds.
Surnames associated with the county include Fitzmaurice, O'Donoghue, O'Leary, Stack, Tangney, Teahon, McElligot, O'Connell and Sugrue.