Killarney National Park - The Traveller


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Monday, December 15, 2014

Killarney National Park

Killarney National Park
Killarney National Park – First National Park in Ireland

Killarney National Park is besides the town of Killarney, County Kerry, Ireland and was the first national park in Ireland which was created when Muckross Estate was donated in 1932, to the Irish state. The park has been expanded, encompassing around 102.89 km of diverse ecology which includes the Lakes of Killarney, yew and oak woodlands and mountain peaks.

The park is of great ecological value due to the quality, diversity and extensiveness of several of its habitats as well as the wide variety of species which they accommodate, some of which are rare. In 1981, the park was designated by UNESCO as a Biosphere Reserve and forms a part of a world network of natural areas having conservation, education, research and training as main objectives.

The main focus of the National Park for visitors is Muckross House and Gardens where the house is presented as a late 19th century mansion with all the necessary furnishings, while the artefact of the period is a major attraction managed jointly by the Park Authorities as well as the Trustees of Muckross House.

Close to Killarney Town is the former Kenmare Desmene which is also part of the National Park featuring Killarney House and Gardens and Knockreer House, an education centre of the park.

Nature Conservation – Important Objective

Killarney National Park is one of the few places in Ireland which had been continuously covered by woodland till the end of the most recent glacial period around 10,000 years ago which was inhabited since at least the Bronze Age around 4,000 years ago.

Archaeologists have discovered evidence that copper mining occurred in the Ross Island area during that era which indicates that it was of considerable importance to Bronze Age people. Moreover the park also has several archaeological features which included a well preserved stone circle at Lissivigeen.

At different period of time, the woods in the park had been disturbed and cleared since the Iron Age, causing a gradual decline in diversity of tree species in the park.

The National Parks and Wildlife Service are responsible in the management as well as the administration of the park and nature conservation is the most important objective of the park where the ecosystems in their natural form are highly valued.

Several Features of National & International Importance

The park is also known for the beautiful scenery and provision for tourism amenities and recreation has been taken care of. The National park has several features of national as well international importance with an abundance of evergreen trees and shrubs together with a profusion of bryophytes and lichens that thrive in the mild Killarney atmosphere, besides the woodlands.

The native red deer are unique in Ireland, a presence in the country since the last Ice Age. The most amazing archaeological remains in the park are from the early Christian period and the most important of them is the Inisfallen Abbey, which are the ruins of a monastic settlement on Inisfallen Island in Lough Leane. The same was founded by St. Finian the Leper in the 7th century and was occupied till the 14th century.

The record of the early history of Ireland, the Annals of Inisfallen as it was known by the monks was written in the monastery between the 11th and 13th centuries which was presumed that the monastery had given rise to the name Lough Leane meaning `Lake of Learning’.

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