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John O'Connor founded this Friary for the Franciscans in 1478 which is thought to be on the site of an older monastery founded by St. Lachtin (died 622). It consists of a long church with north transept and some domestic buildings. The west window of the church has an attractive flame-like form. There are two tomb-niches in the nave and a triple sedilia in the choir. Around the cloister can be seen the remains of domestic buildings, including the refectory on the east side, with the dormitory above. At the north end is a tower which housed the lavatories. The gateway leading from the outside to the monastic enclosure is still preserved. After the Dissolution of the Monasteries, some of the friars probably remained on, for we know that in 1580 three friars were strangled in front of the High Altar. The Franciscans formally regained possession again in 1629, but when they finally left no one knows....
The Franciscan Friary at Fair Hill was built on the site known as Martyr's Hill, a place of public execution in the 17th century. The stained glass window over the main entrance is by the famous Irish artist Harry Clarke and is said to be one of the finest in Ireland. The church also has a magnificent high altar, beautifully carved in wood....
The Story of Kenmare and Mapped Heritage Trail.
The Heritage Centre covers themes such as: Kenmare Lace Exhibition (Lace Making Displays), Famous Visitors to Kenmare, The Nun of Kenmare, The History of Kenmare, Historical Sites in Kenmare, The Effects of the Famine on Kenmare, The Landlords of Kenmare.
Personal Sound Tours:
One of the features of the exhibition is the provision of personal Sound Tours, these are personal headsets which give each visitor an extra dimension to their visit....
The museum is situated in an old school-house which can be dated back to 1875. Local archaeology, natural history and history as well as periodic temporary exhibitions can be seen here....
Saint Brendan, the Navigator chose Ardfert to be the site of his monastery. Today you will find three medieval churches, an ogham stone and a number of early Christian grave slabs in the site. This is a fine example of an Irish medieval church.
Dating back to the 12th century examine the cathedrals west doorway which is Romanesque in design. Developments to the cathedral were continuous which can be seen with its magnificent 13th century east window and a spectacular row of nine lancets in the south wall. Two statues were added in the late 13th to early 14th century and are of ecclesiastical figures. These are mounted on either side of the east window. The battlements were added in the 15th century.
One of the smaller churches has been carefully restored and turned into a thriving visitors centre under the care of Duchas. Why not visit here and you will learn more about Saint Brendan, his monastery and about Ardfert....
The oldest surviving artefacts of the Celtic church are the cross-pillars and slabs found at a number of monastic sites throughout the country. They represent the first tentative steps in the development of Irish ecclesiastical art. Unlike the alter ringed crosses which evolved from them, the earliest Christian crosses were simply inscribed on suitable natural stones with no attempt at shaping. Sometimes in situ pagan standing stones were adopted for the purpose.
The Reask cross-pillar is one of several early monuments recently discovered at an ancient enclosure in the west of the Dingle peninsula. It is among the most exquisite of its type and in the few years since it came to light it has attracted widespread attention. The late influence of Celtic La Tene decoration is implicit in the flowing spiral patterns, while the incorporation of the bold intrinsic facets of the stone into the overall design is especially striking, producing a harmony of line and form that is aesthetically very pleasing....
The Kilgarvan Motor Museum has been open since 1985, begun by collecting and restoring over 20 years ago as a hobby. During this period, visitors from all over the world have visit with many of them bringing their own vintage or classic cars.
At Kilgarvan, the enthusiast can see the cars from all angles as the cars are not roped off. You can look into them, get the smell of the leather and wood. Most of the cars on show are used during the year for rallies, shows etc - so these old cars have a nice lived in feel to them. As this is a family run museum you get personal service and you can browse at your ease.
There are vintage and classic cars including Rolls Royce, Bentley, Alvis, D.K.W. Armstrong Siddeley, plus large collection of Automobilia.
There is a coffee shop available....
The Franciscan Friary was founded in the 15th century and is in a remarkable state of preservation. The tower was added after the church was built and is the only Franciscan tower in Ireland which is as wide as the church. The cloister and its associated buildings are complete and an old Yew Tree stands in the centre. The monks were finally driven out by the Cromwellians in 1652.
There are guided tours available on request.
There is a public car park close to the site.
Average length of visit is 30 minutes.
Limited access for visitors with disabilities, guide dogs permitted....
The Park Hotel was built originally as a railway hotel in 1897 and has the sturdy gray-stone dignity of the period. It is high on a hillside, with immaculate terraced gardens and walkways leading down to fields, woods and the tidal estuary of the Kenmare River. Its own 9-hole golf course is off to one side, bright hanging baskets of flowers are suspended from the delicate ironwork tracery of the verandah with groups of white chairs set out invitingly on the lawn.
The long drive curves up behind the hotel to an impressive entrance reached by a flight of steps beneath an awning. In the elegant hall hung with vast oil paintings, very correctly attired but welcoming receptionists greet you and invite you to sign in at an antique desk....
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