Situated on the main N71 road between Kenmare and Glengarriff, Bonane derives its name from Fionn Mac Cumhaill, the mythological leader of the Fianna, who maintained a Both or hunting lodge here - hence the old Gaelic name Both-Fhionáin or Fionn's house. The Fianna was made up of landless young men and women, often young aristocrats, who had not yet come into their inheritance of land. During the winter the Fianna were quartered and fed by the nobility, during which time they would keep order on their behalf, but during the summer, they were obliged to live by hunting for food and for pelts to sell.
Located in The Sheen Valley (named after Fionn mac Cumhaill’s son Oisin), Bonane lies within ‘The Sheen Valley Heritage Area’, a 80 square kilometres of breath-taking beauty and fascinating history which stretches from the picturesque town of Kenmare in Co. Kerry to the Caha pass which leads through the Kerry tunnels to Glengarriff in Co. Cork, linking the northern and southern sides of the Beara Peninsula.
Sheen Valley has one of the greatest concentrations of prehistoric and historical monuments in Ireland, dating back at least 6000 years to the Neolithic Age when farming and burial rituals were first introduced. Recent research indicates that some of these monuments are of national and international astronomical significance. Since then the Valley has witnessed the Bronze Age, the Iron Age, the early Christian period, right up to the Penal times and The Great Famine.
A network of scenic walks and cycling routes throughout the valley takes in many of these unique sites. Top-rated attractions in the area include Bonane Heritage Park, Lorge Chocolate Factory, Molly Gallivan’s Cottage and Traditional Farm, The Weaver’s Shop and the Verart Sculpture Garden. Accommodation includes the renowned Sheen Falls Hotel and various top-quality Bed and Breakfasts and Self-Catering Houses.