A stunning new exhibition aimed at educating visitors on every aspect of the town and its world-famous park has been officially unveiled at the iconic Killarney House.

The new interpretative centre, Gateway to Killarney National Park, is a must-see for locals and tourists alike and offers a wonderfully immersive insight into all things Killarney. The history, the great people who lived here and our park’s unique eco-system, it’s all covered in this spectacular, high tech attraction, which is located on the upper floor of the house. Trust us: it really has to be seen to be believed.

The official opening was attended by a number of notable guests, including cousins of John and Mary McShain and the Viscount de Vesci, Tom DeVessey, who is a nephew of the last Earls of Kenmare.

Speaking at the ceremony, General Manager of Killarney House and Gardens Pat Dawson paid tribute to the work of former Park Superintendent Dan Kelleher.

“Dan was able to reassure the McShains that the State would take care of the property that they wanted to be in public ownership – including Ross Castle, Innisfallen Island, the lakes and this property here at Killarney House and Gardens,” Mr Dawson said.

“Without Dan’s professional and reassuring advice to the McShains, who knows what might have transpired and we might all be on the outside of the Golden Gates looking in instead of being here to enjoy and appreciate the gift that the McShains have given us.”

He also thanked former minister Jimmy Deenihan for the role he played in redeveloping the previously disused Killarney House.

“At a difficult time for our country, (Jimmy Deenihan) ring-fenced the necessary funding, with the support of the then Minister for Tourism and now our Taoiseach, Leo Varadkar, to allow for the commencement and completion of a €10million restoration and refurbishment programme at Killarney House and Gardens.”

Sr Pauline McShain, John and Mary McShain’s only child, was unable to attend but she passed on a message from her home in the USA.

“With much joy and deep appreciation, I am writing this today to celebrate the long-awaited opening of Killarney House. This house holds great meaning to our family. Many years ago, my parents chose to spend the remainder of their lives here in this town enchanted by the natural beaut of Ireland, and the delightful spirit and humour of its people.

“My father, John McShain, a dedicated and often overworked contractor, came to Killarney to relax and fins solace among the mountains and lakes. This haven, however, became more than a break from his busy life. The people of Killarney opened their doors to my parents, and they soon found a home filled with friends and family thousands of miles from America.

“I wish I could be there today to see the transformation of our family home, but we are all there in spirit.”

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