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  • Writer's pictureAbby Brenker

The Historic Sites of Kenmare, Ireland

Kenmare, Ireland is home to evidence of an ancient civilization, in the form of a stone circle. Fifteen stones wrap around a Boulder-Dolmen in the center, the formation dates back to at least 2,200-500 BCE. Locally it’s referred to as The Shrubberies, it’s thought to have been used for ritual purposes. Boulder-Dolmen’s have been found to often mark the burial location of an important individual. Though, unlike most stone circles that are circular, The Shrubberies is egg shaped. 

Stones in a circle

Generally, there is somewhat limited information about stone circles and their intended use. Again, it’s largely believed that they were part of a ceremony or ritual practice, but the exact use is unknown. There are about 1,300 stone circles in Britain and Ireland. Though they are not nearly the oldest on Earth. Some of the first stone circles in existence were discovered in Atlit Yam, a sunken civilization off the coast of Atlit in Israel. Stone structures here date back to between 8,900 and 8,300 BCE.


Kenmare, Ireland has many historic sites in addition to the stone circle. Also in Kenmare is Cromwell’s Bridge, which dates back to the 17th century. The bridge was named after Oliver Cromwell as part of a payment for mapping Ireland as part of the Down Survey in 1656. The payment also included the surrounding land. The high arch of the bridge is reminiscent of a Devil’s Bridge

A high arch bridge and greenery

And finally, St. Patrick’s Killowen Old Parish Church is a stunning ruin just outside Kenmare in Kerry. Its exact construction date is unknown, but it’s thought that the surviving elements date back to 1814. The church went unused for many years as the congregation built another nearby location with a growing Protestant community. The  Burial Grounds on the site date back to between 1815 and 1950, overall fairly modern.

If the name Kenmare is familiar to you, and you haven’t been to the area, it might be because of its cameo in Harry Potter. The Kenmare Kestrels are one of the Quidditch teams J.K. Rowling incorporated it into the series.

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