Kenmare Guided Heritage Walk
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Join your guide on this easy walk ‘going back in time’. Strolling the quiet back streets of town for a brief moment you’ll feel just like a local. There is so much more to Kenmare then meets the eye.
Kenmare is a coastal town situated at the head of the Kenmare River at the south-eastern end of the Iveragh Peninsula also known as the ‘Ring of Kerry’. It is located in an area of highly scenic landscapes with panoramic views of the Caha and Shehy mountain ranges to the south and the McGillicuddy Reeks range to the north. Kenmare is located at the intersection of two well-known tourist routes i.e. The Ring of Kerry and the Ring of Beara. Thus making the town a perfect base from which to tour both rings and other local attractions. Its dramatic coastal setting and mountain backdrop has ensured that Kenmare has developed into an attractive tourist destination.
Kenmare is a Heritage Town recently voted as one of the best 10 towns to live in worldwide can you imagine what an achievement.
Kenmare’s heritage dates right back to the late 1670’s with the attempted settlement of the town by William Petty Cromwell’s physician. He had acquired vast areas of land close to Kenmare. It was later in the 1790’s that his descendant William Petty Fitzmaurice established the town with the basic infrastructure of a bridewell, Inn, a market house, a schoolhouse, and a malt house. A Roman Catholic chapel was constructed at Shelburne Street in 1799. One of the oldest buildings in the town the home of William Petty Fitzmaurice still stands that is Shelburne Lodge.
The historical development of the town has left a significant built heritage characterized by historic street patterns unique to Kenmare with its unusual X plan in the town center and various features of architectural and historical significance. Many characters have made the town the unique gem that it is today. On the guided heritage walk your guide will tell you in more detail why people like Fr. John O’ Sullivan, Sr. Mary Frances Clare and William Trench were key figures in the story of this heritage town. It has the makings of a movie for sure!
The railway arriving in 1893 transformed the development of tourism in the town with the development of what was to become the Ring of Kerry tourist route. Sadly today the railway is no more just hints of times past, it finishing in 1959.
Today Kenmare is a thriving tourist town having some of the finest restaurants in the county maybe even the country. Kenmare is a great town for a session of traditional music and song most nights of the week. The town hosts a colorful weekly outdoor market held on Wednesdays all year round
and Kenmare Fair, essentially a horse fair, takes place on the 15th of August.
This is just a flavour of what you will experience in Kenmare, you really need to stay in town a few days to get that sense of place.