Detailed mesostructural and strain analysis investigations across the Killarney Mallow Fault, i.e. the traditional Variscan ''Front'' in southwest Ireland, reveal that this structural line separates two distinct tectonic regimes. North of the Killarney Mallow Fault bulk shortening orthogonal to orogenic strike is estimated to be 12%, all of which is accounted for by late stage buckling. Microscopic strain analysis reveals that there is only local development of a tectonic fabric. South of the front, bulk shortening is approximate to 40% due to combined layer parallel shortening (LPS), buckling and faulting. Variscan deformation is presented as being essentially coaxial. The regional finite strain pattern outlined above is thought to be primarily controlled by the combined effect of a buried basement obstacle in eastern Iveragh and increased sedimentary pile thickness at the western end of the orogen.