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Kenmare, At The End Of The Ring of Kerry.

From its origins in 1678 the town of Kenmare, or in Irish “An Neidín”, meaning, "the little nest", in County Kerry, was special. Nestled peacefully at the mouth of the Kenmare Bay between the famous coastal drives of the Ring of Kerry and Ring of Beara.

Kenmare is one of Ireland's Heritage Towns. A visit to Kenmare leaves lasting memories with its colourful shop fronts, unrivalled range of restaurants and stunning scenery. 

Kenmare carries its romantic reputation more stylishly than does Killarney and there is elegance about its handsome Central Square and attractive buildings but come summer there are still lots and lots of tourists around Kenmare. 

Kenmare is set among the Kerry Hills and is surrounded by the lofty peaks of the Western Mountains, Charmingly sited where the Roughty River opens out to where the beautiful Kenmare River meets at the estuary. 

Kenmare is a haven of serenity and tranquillity, good food, excellent accommodation and incredible scenery in one from your most natural, unspoilt environments in Europe.

The Killarney Mountains rise in front of lofty MacGillicuddy`s Reeks to the north.

The Caba Range dominates the Cork border and the near 2,500FT Akinkeen towers above its neighbouring mountains.

Kenmare itself was founded in 1670 on land assigned to Sir William Petty by the English government and was settled on by a handful of English fighting men.

These colonists withstood almost continuous assault while building up a prosperous fishery, establishing an iron works and cutting timber to fuel the foundry.

In 1688 the town of Kenmare was besieged by 3,000 men, the defenders made their last stand on the little peninsula of Killowen, near Kenmare and finally escaped the attackers on two 30 ton vessels and sailed for Bristol.

Today Kenmare has a flourishing tourism industry and has plenty to offer the holidaymaker.

Local fishing is excellent and the area around the town is rich in antiquarian relics. An interesting old bridge spans the Finnihy River, and near the river at the Shrubberies is the Druids Circle- a circle of stones enclosing a small chamber tomb.

That’s enough about the history, how about the pub’s the Craic and somewhere to eat.

Kenmare has numerous excellent dining places serving wonderful high quality foodstuff in Irish, French, Italian, Spanish and Chinese menu’s (to specify but a few) and it also hosts a weekly street market specializing in fresh fish, beef and veggies and also art, crafts and antiques.

You can walk out of one place and walk straight into another next door. On the square alone there are 3 bars, Aldswell`s, The Atlantic Bar and The Atlantic. Two restaurants, J.M.Donavan and Café Indigo.

Henry Street has a shoal of bars and restaurants and then there is Main Street all of which offer excellent food at reasonable prices and the competition with the pubs makes sure they all reach the highest of standards. 

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In the summer months you can enjoy Irish traditional music from most of the pubs, just put your ear inside the door after about 9.00 pm.

For the more energetic amongst us the surrounding countryside is dotted with many marked jogging trails. jogging Festivals in Easter and May and June provide walkers of all grades guided walks of various lengths.

Water sports are in abundance with pleasure trips of Kenmare Bay to spot the seals, dolphins and other wildlife and there are numerous organised fishing trips exactly where sea angling is available. Canoeing, windsurfing, sailing and water-skiing are on the market a brief distance from your town. You can even charter a yacht and head to the beautiful coastline of South-west Kerry and Cork.

If you love horse riding, in the vicinity of Kenmare there are several riding stables, which have guided treks in the mountains, the coast or via the woods. Treks of varying degrees of difficulty for both the beginner and skilled rider.

Fancy a game of golf? Two of the finest golf courses in Ireland are at your doorstep. Both the Kenmare Golf Club and the Ring of Kerry playing golf and Country Club will test your handicap and there are numerous pitch and putt facilities in the Kenmare area also.

Fancy catching a salmon or a sea trout for tea? Then Kenmare has an abundance of them. The River Sheen a Spate river is one of three rivers that enter the sea at Kenmare. The River Sheen rises in Kerry's Caha Mountains, and flows in a Northerly direction for some 13 miles before entering the sea at Kenmare bay.

The Sheen is very much a spate system and is subject to violent floods, which can disappear just as quickly as they arrived. It's quite a prolific little river, producing around 1000 fish every year.

The salmon fishing is mostly concentrated on the first 5 or 6 miles of the river up to Dromagorteen Bridge (just North of Bunane on the N71), with the first 4 miles up to Dromanassig, being the best of the fishing.

The best pools are Sheen Pool, the Flat Pool, the Sand Pool and the Weir Pool, just above the Sheen Falls.

There are a few more pools worthy of attention, right up to Releagh Bridge (N71), but bear in mind that the water runs off really quickly on the upper river.

There are also a few pools worth fishing on the Coomeelan River (also known as the Coomeelan Stream), which joins the Sheen from the East just above Dromagorteen Bridge.

The Sheen gets a decent run of spring fish, which begin running from the start of the season, but it can be May before it's worth wetting a line.

The impressive Grilse run starts at the end of May and continues right through until the end of August, with June and July being the peak season.

The river also gets a run of Sea Trout from May, but like many other rivers, their numbers have been in steady decline. The Brown Trout fishing can be good as well, with resident fish up to 3lb.

Do you know who you are? Does your great, great grandfather come from Kenmare or nearby?

Have you any information you could let me know about Kenmare, if so please email me and I will include it on this site, thanks, Tom.

Information On Kenmare

Kenmare: Riverville House Kenmare: "Wonderful stay at Riverville House". From a visitor from Fayetteville, NC.

Riverville House was in a great location for a quick walk into Kenmare, a delightful village.

The rooms were spacious and very clean, the decor was tasteful, the food was grand and the hospitality was wonderful.

Margret was quick to answer any questions and gave us great advive on travelling in the area.

We truly enjoyed our stay.

Another great comment about Riverville House from Keswick, England.

We enjoyed our stay at Riverville during the month of August and we must say it was most enjoyable.

The room was beautifully furnished and very tasteful and best of all OH so comfortable.

Breakfast was a real treat and Margaret, the hostess, landlady, guide and everything else was exceptionally helpful. Margret advised us on walks, places to visit, music and the craic.

Further Information:

Kenmare The Gateway To County Kerry

Kenmare Golf Club

Kenmare Lace Festival

Kenmare Halloween Howl Festival

Kenmare Bridge Run

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