The manufacture of Killarney wares began in the 1820s when the town, its lakes and ruins became a tourist attraction for visiting English upper classes.
This furniture established a local style through the use of architectural marquetry of the local tourist sites and decorative inlay of local fauna, flora and Irish symbols like the harp. The earliest references to souvenirs made was in 1837, but the popularization of Killarney and Killarney wares began in the 1850s after the opening of the railway, and the visit of the Prince of Wales on 17 April 1858 and his public purchase of this local art. In 1861 a visit from the Queen Victoria and the Prince Consort established Killarney's reputation throughout Ireland and abroad (B. Austen, 'Killarney Inlaid Furniture, A Forgotten Industry', Killarney Newsletter, Spring/Summer 1998, pp. 6 and 7).