Kenmare was founded in 1670 by Sir William Petty. His descendant, William Petty-Fitzmaurice, 2nd Earl of Shelbourne and 1st Marquis of Lansdowne, commissioned the present design of the town which was completed in 1775. It is one of the few “planned” towns of Ireland. Kenmare has a wide range of pubs and restaurants to visit and to sample the “local flavours”.
There are plenty of shops to wander around, particularly craft shops. Craft people, both native and foreign have found the Kenmare area inspirational to their work. Designed and produced locally are Kenmare Lace, Knitwear, Jewellery, Pottery, Wooden Crafts, Needlework, Weaving, Musical Instruments, Paintings and Smoked Salmon.
Chosen by the Irish Tourist Board, Kenmare is the only Heritage Town in Co. Kerry. The Heritage Centre is located in the Courthouse, beside the Tourist Office, where modern interpretative techniques are being used to recall Kenmare’s history. Well worth a visit. Recently Kenmare was awarded the prestigious accolade of the Tidiest Town in Ireland.
Stone Circle Kenmare: Possibly the most ancient and mysterious of Kenmare's historical sites. Kenmare Stone Circle may have been used as a burial place or a ritual place of worship
Dromore Castle and Blackwater River: Dromore Castle was once the seat of the O'Mahony family and is now being restored to include self catering accommodation in the converted stables and outhouses. Further on, just after Blackwater bridge, there is a boithrin that leads under the main road down to the little Blackwater harbor. Salmon can, on suitable occasions, be brought here from the net men.
Cromwell's Bridge: Situated just twenty meters from Riverville House this remarkable arched bridge was built in the 7th century by Franciscan monks to reach the well across the river , known as "Our Lady's Well". Cromwell Never got this far south