Killarney is an unincorporated community in southwestern Manitoba, Canada, at the corner of Manitoba Provincial Trunk Highways 3 & 18. The community was formerly an incorporated town before amalgamating with the surrounding Rural Municipality of Turtle Mountain to form the Municipality of Killarney-Turtle Mountain. Killarney is known for the lake situated within the community. Killarney is located in a rural area, dependent primarily on agriculture and agribusiness. It is approximately 20 km (12 mi) from the US border, 100 km (62 mi) south of Brandon and 250 km (160 mi) southwest of the provincial capital, Winnipeg.
The Municipality of Killarney-Turtle Mountain area is rich in history and tradition. In the late 1800s, the Boundary Commission Trail ran through the southern part of the municipality. North-West Mounted Police used the trail, as they travelled west to the Rockies in an effort to tame the prairies. Prior to this time, the area was home to many Aboriginal people, as well as hunters and trappers taking part in the fur trade. The R.M. of Turtle Mountain was incorporated in 1882.
The Town of Killarney was officially incorporated in 1906. An Irish land surveyor named John Sidney O’Brien, named Killarney Lake (before that, it was called Oak Lake by the aboriginal people) after the Lakes of Killarney, in Ireland. Legend has it that as he sat on the shore of the lake, homesick for his native home, he took a bottle of „Good Irish“ from his pack and pouring it into the lake christened it Killarney. The „Irish“-ness of the community is often used as a tourist attraction with things such as green fire engines, Erin and Kerry Parks, Little Irish Downs, and many other good Irish-themed attractions used to play up this theme. Killarney, Manitoba does not have any actual connection with the town of Killarney, Ireland. Most of the people who originally settled the region were from the Scottish Highlands, the English or were Mennonites or Hutterites of Central European extraction.
The local landscape of the area is common to the Westman area and much of the southern province. The land is mainly flat with gently rolling hills breaking the horizon. Numerous tree lined rivers and streams cross the landscape breaking up vast farm fields. The area is rich in agriculture with many local residents actively farming.
Agriculture is a large part of Killarney-Turtle Mountain’s economy. Killarney boasts a variety of sales and specialized services that help complement the strong agricultural base of the community. In addition, to agriculture, tourism also plays a role in the economy. The municipality attracts as many as 1,500 people each summer to its cottages and playgrounds. Killarney Lake makes up the majority of Killarney’s tourism and is the focus of many activities.
Killarney has been voted the best retirement town in Canada by Canadian Living Magazine. The community works hard to maintain this reputation and the business community in Killarney provides most all essential goods and services to local residents, ensuring a comfortable and amenable living environment.
As of 2007, the mayor of the Municipality of Killarney-Turtle Mountain is Rick Pauls, who won the post in a by-election. He was a former councillor for the pre-amalgamated Town of Killarney between 2002 and 2005 and its former mayor from 1998 to 2002.
The mayoral by-election came about after former Mayor Brian Moore of the Municipality of Killarney-Turtle Mountain tendered his resignation during a town-hall meeting in April 2007 over plans for a 9.5 million multi-purpose new facility featuring a skating rink, curling rink, bowling alley, fitness centre and banquet hall.
The community of Killarney is now an urban ward within the amalgamated Municipality of Killarney-Turtle Mountain represented by three councillors. The former Rural Municipality of Turtle Mountain comprises the municipality’s rural ward and is also represented by three councillors.
The urban ward is represented by councillors Gwen Tripp (deputy mayor), Peter Heide and Lorne Whitelock. The rural ward is represented by councillors Randy Hodge, Dwight King and Gerry Blixhavn. Royal representative, Wendy Thiessen.
Provincially, the Municipality of Killarney-Turtle Mountain has been part of the provincial constituency of Spruce Woods since it was created in the 2008 electoral redistribution. Spruce Woods is represented by Progressive Conservative M.L.A. Cliff Cullen. Federally, the Municipality of Killarney-Turtle Mountain, falls under the federal riding of Brandon-Souris. Brandon-Souris is represented by Conservative M.P. Merv Tweed.
Killarney is home to the of the and the Killarney Lakers of the Border West Baseball League. The Shamrocks play out of the Killarney Shamrock Centre that was completed in May 2008.