Muckross House and Abbey

There are many Irish castles and manor homes throughout the country.  In the Killarney area, the Tudor-style estate of Muckross House has been preserved as a historical site and is part of the Killarney National Park system.  It features a stately 65-room manor home and world class gardens.  As the story is told, the owners invited Queen Victoria of England for a visit to the estate in 1861 (planning started 7 years in advance) in hopes of landing a royal title, which ironically drove thems into near financial ruin when the attempt failed, and forced them to sell the house.

 

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Nearby are the ruins of Muckross Abbey, one of the major ecclesiastical sites found in the Killarney National Park. It was founded in 1448 as a Franciscan friary for the Observantine Franciscans.   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 but is quite well preserved. One of its most striking featurse is a central courtyard, which contains a large yew tree and is surrounded by a vaulted cloister.  In the 17th and 18th centuries, it became the burial place for prominent County Kerry poets among others.  Below is a ground plan that shows the courtyard and cloister.

 

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