Kenmare (Irish: An Neidín, meaning "the little nest") is a small town in the south of County Kerry, Ireland. The name Kenmare is the anglicised form of Ceann Mara meaning "head of the sea", referring to the head of Kenmare Bay.
Kenmare is located at the head of Kenmare Bay (where it reaches the farthest inland), sometimes called the Kenmare River, where the Roughty River (An Ruachtach) flows into the sea, and at the junction of the Iveragh Peninsula and the Beara Peninsula. The traditional Irish name of the bay was Inbhear Scéine from the Celtic inver, which is recorded in the 11th Century narrative Lebor Gabála Érenn as the arrival point of the mythological Irish ancestor Partholón. It is also located near the Macgillycuddy's Reeks, Mangerton Mountain and the Caha Mountains and is a popular hillwalking destination.
The three main streets that form a triangle in the centre of the town are called Main Street (originally William Street, after Sir William, 1st. Marquis of Lansdowne), Henry Street (originally Sound Road), after the son of William the 1st. Marquis and Shelbourne Street (Henry Petty became the first Earl of Shelburne). This name was also later applied to Shelbourne Road in Dublin.
The convent in the town, the Poor Clare Sisters, was founded in 1861
A suspension bridge, which is claimed to be the first in Ireland, over the Kenmare River was opened in 1841
The town is noted for winning the Irish Tidy Towns Competition in 2000
The Mass Rock at Baurearagh
Kenmare lies on two noted Irish tourist routes, the Ring of Kerry and the Ring of Beara, approximately 32 kilometres (20 mi) from Killarney. As a result it is a popular tourist destination and many of the businesses in the area cater to tourists.
The town is noted for its food and pubs. Kenmare boasts a range of restaurants and traditional pubs.
The town library is one of the Carnegie Libraries funded by Andrew Carnegie. It opened in 1918.
The Heritage Centre in the renovated Courthouse explains the history of Kenmare using personal sound tours. There are exhibitions here on Kenmare Lace, the Nun of Kenmare and other aspects of local history. Follow the Heritage Trail from the centre.
Due to its location at the centre of a large agricultural area, Kenmare served as the local market town.
Kenmare was established in 1985 and is a treasure trove of historical motor memorobilia. Kilgarvan Motor Museum, a family-run business has supplied vehicles for major films and regularly offers antique limousines for weddings throughout the county.
Bonane Heritage Park is such a success for the small community that established it, that it won the national ‘Pride of Place’ competition in 2008. The Park is located about seven miles out of town and is signposted from the N71 Glenngarriff Road.Dereen Gardens at Lauragh and is a magnificent water-side estate, full of unusual shrubs, trees and plants.
Sport and Adventure :
Kenmare has many must do activities and fifty of them are listed below. Kenmare is a walkers' paradise and caters for every level of walking enthusiast. The Kenmare Walking club has its own website where you can find details of walks and walking events planned for the year. Many walks are possible in the area and are well signposted. The famous Kerry Way is amongst them.
There are 2 golf courses in Kenmare, the Kenmare Golf Club, which is located in town next to the prestigious Park Hotel and The Ring of Kerry Golf and Country Club, located 5 miles out of Kenmare on the road to Sneem.
Kenmare Bay Diving, Seafari Cruises and Star Outdoors, Accommodation and Adventure Centre offer much entertainment for all the family. Also, you get to see the areas surrounding Kenmare and you might spot some seals. The scenery seen from the water is stunning and breathtaking - well worth a visit.
One of Ireland's designated Heritage Towns, Kenmare is an important example of a planned town. Designed and built by the first Marquess of Lansdowne in 1775, the town is laid out in an X-plan and has a fine, wide main street and square. The winner of Kerry's tidiest town in 1998, Kenmare's location nestled between the high mountains and the sea explains its name in Irish, Neidin meaning "little nest".
Better known now as an attractive tourist town with many fine restaurants, hotels and interesting craft shops, Kenmare retains its links to a more ancient past. Not far from Market Street is the Bronze Age Druid's Circle, consisting of 15 standing stones. Whether it was used as a burial place or for sun worship, we no longer know but its importance to the early inhabitants of Kenmare is without question.
Fleadh Cheoil na Mumhan
Kenmare Horse Show