The name is derived from Saint Ronan, a 6th century Irish missionary of the Iona School. The church here is dedicated to him. The Hawin Croka flows from here into the Irish Sea.
Until the 1860's, Kirk Ronan was a fishing port. In 1865, the town was reached by the Sodor and Mainland Railway, which was the first standard gauge railway on the Island. They hoped to start a steamer service from Kirk Ronan to Dublin in Ireland. This project failed, but the Crovan's Gate Mining Company used the harbour extensively for the shipment of ore from Ward Fell. Due to the collapse of the S&MR's tunnel through the Ballahoo Ridge, their trains only ran between here and Ballahoo. Skarloey and Rheneas arrived from Whitehaven here, in 1865 and 1866 respectively.
Following the amalgamation of the Sudrian railways into the North Western Railway in 1915, the line to Kirk Ronan was demoted to branch line status. In 1920 the NWR started daily sailings to Dublin from here and had enough success to disturb the LMS. Sailings to Dublin still continue, but following the Agreement of 1925, they are on Tuesdays and Fridays, as a local service only.
In the television series, the station only appeared in the fifth season as a terminus station, seemingly replacing Knapford. It has four platforms and four terminal tracks, with half the station covered by a glass roof. The station building is on the western platform, along with a stall selling flowers. A panoramic view is situated over tracks 1 and 2, overlooking the town.
When the station was built, Gordon took a trial express there; he was initially impressed by the station, but was disappointed to find it lacked a view. Later, at the grand opening, his brakes malfunctioned and he ran through the buffers, causing major damage to both himself and the station wall. The wall was soon repaired and as an extra adjustment, a custom-made hole was made in the wall where Gordon crashed, named "Gordon's View" and intended as a panoramic view for Gordon. Lady Hatt's birthday party was once held here.
- Season 5 - A Better View for Gordon, Lady Hatt's Birthday Party, James and the Trouble with Trees, Gordon and the Gremlin, Baa! (deleted scene), Oliver's Find and Make Someone Happy
- Season 5 - Sir Topham Hatt, Accidents Will Happen, Percy's Seaside Trip and Come for the Ride
- Season 6 - James the Really Splendid Engine
- Saint Ronan was a real 6th century Saint.
- On early maps of Sodor and on station signs in the fifth season, Kirk Ronan is spelt as one word.