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Killarney

KILLARNEY, a market town of county Kerry, Ireland, in the east parliamentary division, on a branch line of the Great Southern & Western railway, 185^ m. S.W. from Dublin. Pop. of urban district (1901), 5656. On account of the beautiful scenery in the neighbourhood the town is much frequented by tourists. The principal buildings are the Roman Catholic cathedral and bishop's palace of the diocese of Kerry, designed by A. W. Pugin, a large Protestant church and several hotels. Adjoining the town is the mansion of the earl of Kenmare. There is a school of arts and crafts, where carving and inlaying are prosecuted. The only manufacture of importance now carried on at Killarney is that of fancy articles from arbutus wood; but it owed its origin to iron-smelting works, for which abundant fuel was obtained from the neighbouring forests.

The lakes of Killarney, about if m. from the town, lie in a basin between several lofty mountain groups, some of which rise abruptly from the water's edge, and all clothed with trees and shrubbery almost to their summits. The lower lake, or Lough Leane (area 5001 acres), is studded with finely wooded islands, on the largest of which, Ross Island, are the ruins of Ross Castle, an old fortress of the O'Donoghues; and on another island, the " sweet Innisfallen " of Moore, are the picturesque ruins of an abbey founded by St Finian the leper at the close of the 6th century. Between the lower lake and the middle or Tore lake (680 acres in extent) stands Muckross Abbey, built by Franciscans about 1440. With the upper lake (430 acres), thickly studded with islands, and close shut in by mountains, the lower and middle lakes are connected by the Long Range, a winding and finely wooded channel, 2\ m. in length, and commanding magnificent views of the mountains. Midway in its course is a famous echo caused by the Eagle's Nest, a lofty pyramidal rock.

Besides the lakes of Killarney themselves, the immediate neighbourhood includes many features of natural beauty and of historic interest. Among the first are Macgillicuddy's Reeks and the Tore and Purple Mountains, the famous pass known as the Gap of Dunloe, Mount Mangerton, with a curious depression (the Devil's Punchbowl) near its summit, the waterfalls of Tore and Derrycunihy, and Lough Guitane, above Lough Leane. Notable ruins and remains, besides Muckross and Innisfallen, include Aghadoe, with its ruined church of the 12th century (formerly a cathedral) and remains of a round tower; and the Ogham Cave of Dunloe, a souterrain containing inscribed stones. The waters of the neighbourhood provide trout and salmon, and the flora is of high interest to the botanist. Innumerable legends centre round the traditional hero O'Donoghue.

Note - this article incorporates content from Encyclopaedia Britannica, Eleventh Edition, (1910-1911)

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