Towns of Kerry
Portmagee —County Kerry
Portmagee is a small picturesque fishing village of brightly painted houses at the south west tip of Valentia Harbour. The area was a haven for smugglers and pirates whose hunting ground was the trade from the Continent and North America.
The village is named after one of the most notorious smugglers of the 18th Century, Captain Theobald Magee. Having served in the army of King James as an Officer, Magee 'retired' to a life of merchant shipping between France, Portugal and Ireland. Thanks to the intricately chiseled coast around the South West, his trade in contraband spirits, textiles and tea and tobacco, was extremely hard to police and therefore extremely profitable. He married Mrs. Bridget Morgell, the widow of a rich Dingle merchant and also the daughter of the then MP for County Kerry, Mr. Thomas Crosby. Being related to the best smuggler in Ireland can't have sat too easily on Crosby's shoulders and there is some suspicion that Magee's death in a Lisbon monastery in1724 was due to some exile imposed by the powerful MP. After his death, his wife, and his sons are believed to have carried on the family business.