Lower New Street

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At the start of Lower New Street is Beech Road, so-called because it used to be lined with beech trees. This was the location of the town’s sawmill and gas-works (Killarney’s streets were lit by gas lamps even before London’s). Walking from Beech Road towards the Cathedral, you are crossing the area known as Inch, as it was once the marshy floodplain of the Deenagh river (Inis, pronounced ‘Inish’ is the Irish word for ‘island’). During road works in the 1980s an ancient bridge was unearthed at the Beech Road junction. Red brick public buildings, such as Killarney’s Old Town Hall, were rare in Ireland outside larger towns, but you’ll see another on your left—the Post Office, built around 1900. The house opposite the Medical Centre with a fanlight and pediment over the door was built around 1795, and was used as a hall for the Army reserve. At the end of New Street on the left is a two-storey house, now a restaurant, built at the start of the 19th century. It was once used as a school of housewifery and midwifery, and more recently was the West End House Restaurant, owned by the parents of Hollywood actor Michael Fassbender. Opposite West End House is St. Brigid’s Secondary School. Now a girl’s secondary school, it was built in 1886 as a co-educational primary school, with boys and girls educated in separate wings at each end of the U-shaped design. Notice the old green letter box on the wall, dating from around 1905, with the ER VII (King Edward the 7th) monogram.