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Fire destroys Lord Kenmare’s residence
An interior view of Lord Kenmare's residence in the late 19th century (NLI, STP_0098) Photo: National Library of Ireland, STP 0098

Fire destroys Lord Kenmare’s residence

Published: 1 September 1913

A fire has destroyed a large portion of Killarney House, the beautiful Kerry residence of the Earl of Kenmare. The fire appears to have originated in a room on the top floor of the right wing and was discovered by a male servant in the early hours of yesterday morning. The Police were alerted to the blaze at 5 am and by the time they arrived on the scene a large part of the right wing of the house was in flames.

Efforts to control the fire were not helped by the inadequacy of the private water supply and the incompatibility of the private supply fittings with hose fittings requisitioned from the Killarney Urban Council.

The garden of Killarney House strewn with books, paintings and furniture in the aftermath of the fire
(Image: Illustrated London News [London, England], 6 Sept 1913

Not everything succumbed to the flames, however. While valuable furniture, tapestry, a collection of china and marbles were burned, a number of portable paintings, family portraits, light furniture and books were saved. The private chapel at the end of the eastern wing remains intact as does the western wing, comprising the servants' apartments. However, with the fire still raging and want of water an ongoing problem, it is anticipated that the entirety of the building may yet be destroyed.  

Killarney house was built in red brick, Elizabethan style in 1873 at a cost originally of £200,000. A popular destination for tourists visiting the Killarney Lakes, it has played host to many distinguished visitors in recent years, including the late King Edward when Prince of Wales, and the present King when Duke of York.


Century Ireland

The Century Ireland project is an online historical newspaper that tells the story of the events of Irish life a century ago.