Area History

The picturesque town of Kenmare was founded in 1670 and its inherent beauty & unique charm remains unchanged. With its brightly coloured buildings and its stunning settings, Kenmare easily justifies its title of the 'Jewel in the Ring of Kerry'.

Bonane Heritage Park has recently opened (2006) and has antiquities dating back to 5000BC with Bullaun Stones, Standing Stones, Wedge Tombs and Ring Forts etc, More details can be found by Clicking here also a map /document on the site can be built up by printing off the 4 pictures below to make a double A3 document

An historic town with much to do and see, Kenmare is perfectly situated to explore both the Iveragh and Beara Peninsulas. It will come as no surprise to discover that Kenmare is one of Ireland's tidiest towns, winning gold medals in the competition year after year in 2000 it was voted the tidiest town in Ireland.

The world famous Ring of Kerry follows the coastline of the Iveragh Peninsula. It is one of the most dramatic scenic drives in the country and makes a most exciting day tour. Along the 175km route are picturesque villages, and an abundance of historical landmarks, sandy coves and beaches.

The unspoiled Ring of Beara lies to the south of Kenmare. Its rugged beauty is beyond compare, traffic is minimal and it abounds with archaeological sites and spectacular views.

Heading from Kenmare to Killarney on the N71 there is a breathtaking view called 'Ladies View'. It was given its name because of the delight it gave to Queen Victoria's ladies-in-waiting when they visited in September 1861, and it still delights today.

The Kenmare Stone Circle is reported to be the biggest in the south west of Ireland. Stone circles were built during the Bronze Age for ritual and ceremonial purposes, they were often orientated on certain solar and lunar events. Kenmare Bay has an amazing amount of rivers which flow into it. Up to 1970 salmon were found in every river and every stream in the area. Due to the quantities of salmon it became considered a poor mans fish dish of which children got very tired of eating!

Ardea Castle on the shores of Kenmare Bay was one of the O'Sullivan Bere's Castles and controlled the entrance into the inner half of Kenmare Bay. From here wine and spirits were imported and wool was exported.

There are numerous ship wrecks in Bantry Bay, Bearhaven Harbour and the Kenmare area, the most famous being La Surveillante. In Bearhaven harbour coral reefs still grow naturally and this along with Ardgroom Harbour is an ideal spot for divers to see bright coral in a clean and natural environment.

Harvesting the bounty of the shoreline is an age-old tradition on the Beara Peninsula. Over the centuries generations of people have picked shellfish along the shore. The lunar cycle which regulates the tides greatly influences the availability of scallops, cloisins, mussels, clams, cockles, sea urchins, oysters and periwinkles. Most of these can be sampled in the restaurants of Kenmare during the seafood festival which is held in October.

The Flora and Fauna of Kerry are among the most interesting in Ireland and a paradise for the botanist. Lloyd Praeger declared it as "the area where the special features of the Irish climate and vegetation attain their most pronounced expression". It is estimated that approximately one quarter of all rare Irish plants are to be found in Kerry.

Wolves were very common here and were one of the reasons for the building of the many stone forts in the county. The last wolf in Ireland is said to have been killed in the Macgillicuddy Reeks in 1710.
Red Deer and Sika Deer still roam the woods freely and Kerry Cattle, said to be the oldest breed of cattle in Europe have the distinction of being the first breed developed primarily as a milk producer.
So as you can see there are many reasons for you to come and visit our wonderful county and if there is one thing that is certain it is that you will not leave disappointed.

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