Built in the late 15th Century by one of the O’Donoghue Ross Gaelic Chieftains, Ross Castle has had a long and distinguished history. This typical Irish keep is built on a rocky outcrop on Ross Island by the shore of Lough Leane. Although not a large fortress, its profile and location make for an imposing structure and it has proved to be a very effective defensive stronghold throughout the centuries.
Many years after the Cromwellian conquest of Ireland, The Castle was for the first time occupied by the Browne Family. For his loyalty to King James ll, Sir Valentine Browne was given the title, 1st Viscount Kenmare-predecessor to Thomas 4th Viscount Kenmare-the acknowledged founder of Killarney Town (1754) and the father of Irish Tourism.
Having served as a residence for the “Kenmare” Family and subsequently as an Army Barracks, The Castle was finally vacated in 1825. For almost the next 150 years, under various owners, it remained as a deteriorating but famous Killarney landmark on the shores of Lough Leane. In 1970, the Castle came into state ownership and has been beautifully restored and refurnished in the style of the 17th century. It is open to the public by Guided tour only and a visit to the castle is an experience not to be missed!