Muckross House and Abbey

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Name Muckross House and Abbey County Kerry Nearest Town Killarney Access Road N22 About Muckross House is located on the small Muckross Peninsula between Muckross Lake and Lough Leane, two of the three Lakes of Killarney, 6 kilometers from the town of Killarney.


Muckross House is a mansion designed by the Scottish architect, William Burn, which was built in 1843 for Henry Arthur Herbert and his wife, painter, Mary Balfour Herbert.

The house has a total of sixty-five rooms and was built in the Tudor style in common with the era.

Extensive improvements were undertaken in the 1850s in preparation for the visit of Queen Victoria in 1861.

It is said that these improvements for the Queen’s visit were a contributory factor in the financial difficulties suffered by the Herbert family which necessitated the sale of the estate.


Killarney National was formed principally from a donation of Muckross Estate, which was presented to the state in 1932 by Senator Arthur Rose Vincent and his parents-in-law Mr.
and Mrs. William Bowers Bourn, in memory of Senator Vincent’s late wife, Maud.


The park was substantially expanded by acquisition of land from the former Earl of Kenmare.

The house, gardens and traditional farms are all open to the public with guided tours of the house’s rooms.

Muckross Abbey, beside the house, is a major ecclesiastical site.

It was founded in 1448 as a Franciscan Friary for the Observantine Franciscans by Donal McCarthy Mor.

It has had a violent history, and has been damaged and reconstructed many times.

The Friars were often persecuted and subjected to raids by marauding groups.

Today the Abbey is largely roofless, although apart from this is generally quite well preserved.

Its most striking feature is a central courtyard which contains a large yew tree and is surrounded by a vaulted cloister.

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