Kenmare is a small Irish village, located in the heart of Kerry on the tip of Kenmare Bay. Considered a mecca for Irish tourism, the village is the starting point for the no less famous “Ring of Kerry”, a 180km circuit that explores the most beautiful corners of the region. The village is particularly renowned for its picturesque town centre and its stone circle dating from the Neolithic period, which is among the largest in Ireland.
The history of Kenmare begins in the Neolithic period, as evidenced by the stone circles and other imposing megalithic constructions present in the area.
In the Middle Ages, the town suffered from the Anglo-Norman invasions of the 12th century. The city was then under the influence of the Anglo-Normans.
In 1655, Kenmare fell victim to Oliver Cromwell, who came to suppress the Irish revolts. The latter drives out the inhabitants, takes possession of the town, and gives it in 1656 to the British cartographer Sir William Petty to reward him for having mapped the whole of Ireland.
More than 850 English settlers landed in Kenmare and tried to co-exist with the inhabitants who had been driven out of the town. Not without difficulties.
Kenmare later faced the disaster of the Great Famine (1845-1848), which caused the death of more than 25% of its population. The village was also affected, and experienced dramatic years.
Nowadays, Kenmare is a rather touristic town, which has been able to take advantage of its geographical situation, converting itself into a seaside resort, and living off the resources of the ocean, starting with fishing.
Kenmare is a string of colourful houses and craft shops. The town centre is distributed around 2 large perpendicular streets, where it’s nice to stroll around, push open the doors of local shops, sit down for a pint in the Pub, and take a break to sample the cuisine of the local restaurants.
Amongst the must-sees, Kenmare has a notable prehistoric stone circle. Don’t miss a visit to the Kenmare Lace Experience, a museum that will introduce you to a craft that has been practiced in the village for generations: lacemaking!