Old is gold they say. The good old days still preserved intact at Muckross House attracts thousands of curious visitors to Killarney National Park, Co. Kerry. When you are in the county, do make it a point to drive all the way to the “Muckross House” in the Killarney National Park. Guess what? You will not regret your decision even if you are not excited by antiquity.
The mansion was built in 1843 for the then Chief Secretary of Ireland, Henry Arthur Herbert, and his wife. Later it was sold and resold, handed down through different generations of affluent families until it was presented to Ireland in 1932. It became the first National Park in the Republic of Ireland. Gradually, the grandeur of the Park enhanced after acquiring more land surrounding it. Not long after that, the present-day Killarney National Park was established.
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Is Killarney National Park worth visiting?
The Killarney National Park where the Muckross House is situated covers approximately 10,200 hectares. Can you imagine how much land that is? The UNESCO accredited Biosphere Reserve besides being famous for its biodiversity, houses:
- Muckross House & Gardens
- Muckross Abbey
- Torc Waterfall
- Ross Castle
- Inisfallen Island
- The Meeting of the Waters
- And the lush green, hilly surroundings dotted with water bodies
Not far from there, you can also stop by St. Mary’s Cathedral and a few other dilapidated, dramatic structures.
Sounds interesting? The sheer panorama surrounding the Muckross House and the mansion in itself will interest you. Once you finish seeing around the mansion, it is recommended to visit the aforesaid attractions while you are in the region.
All these spots are at a distance of 1-2 kilometers from each other. Many visitors prefer to stroll around, while many others hire the cycle or Jaunting car. A jaunting car can cost you around €30.
The Muckross House
To know about a country and its culture, you have to learn its history. At Muckross House, you get a glimpse of Ireland in the 1930s and 1940s. Besides the castle, you can observe the traditional farms & farmhouses, a craft shop, Muckross pottery, Schoolhouse, and a Garden Restaurant in the complex.
Restored, refurbished, and embellished, now Muckross House is a grand location for tourists to admire. Of course, you need to shell out generously from your purse to book the hall and dine in.
Adjacent to the castle is the main kitchen and rooms where they traditionally store provisions, utensils, and a wine cellar.
€ 12 for both Muckross House and Farms together. Separately you need to spend € 7 each. Other places and facilities including parking are free.
Muckross Traditional Farms
You can spot three different farmhouses that are named Kissane’s, Foleys, and O’Connors. Back then, these houses were used by farmers for them to stay or were used as barns and workspace.
Well preserved agricultural and masonry, carpentry tools can be seen arranged in one house. Even decades back they had such tools!
And other farmhouses are occupied by staff who show you around and give the narration. They also offer you homemade bread, cheese, and butter therein.
Adjacent to the farmhouse, you will find a large hall where they used to house horses and Jaunting cars back then. Now, a few cattle can be spotted in the area and taken care of by the staff.
Obviously, nothing compared to the present-day school setup. Still, a well-maintained classroom that once upon a time used to be a school to conduct several classes and subjects can be seen. The furniture and structures are still intact.
Another innovative move to attract tourists to the area is the Garden Restaurant. Since its inception, The Garden Restaurant has been an ideal venue for visitors to enjoy a delightful meal at a picturesque pasture. The spectacular backdrop of Torc and Mangerton Mountains adds joy to your stay at the venue. Not just the visiting families, even corporate companies now rent out the venue to organize their rendezvouses.
Open every day, the restaurant serves different options of cuisines to the customers that are usually combined with locals and tourists from across the world.
Why not try the freshly baked snacks from the restaurant? It would be a refreshing experience to dine in the picturesque garden.
You don’t need to drive back empty-handed after the visit to the Muckross House. The craft shop sells traditionally woven scarves, headwear, stoles, capes, bags, and rugs. They are made from materials such as wool, mohair, and alpaca. In fact, you get to see how these are traditionally made at the craft shop.
Apart from these, you can also shop for Muckross Pottery and Bookbinding which are popular in the region.
The 15th-century structure stands tall by Killarney’s lake to attract tourists. The castle is on the other side of the lake if you visit the Muckross House first. On the first Wednesday of every month, you have free entry. However, do expect a rush on the day. And you need around 45 minutes to cover the area which will be a guided tour. Until one batch completes the tour inside, you need to wait for your turn outside.
A boating facility is available in the lake by the castle.
St. Mary’s Cathedral
The Gothic-style 1850s structure is a splendid attraction in the region. The faithful do offer prayers and partake in the ceremonies.
How to reach?
Locals say hoping on the Shuttle Bus is the affordable and easiest way to see around Killarney National Park. The service starting from Killarney City Center takes you through all the attractions in the region. The fifteen minutes ride is just fun.
Additionally, you can also hire taxis, bikes, or the local Jaunting car.
Best time to visit
It is advised to visit during summer i.e. June-August.
So, enjoy a fruitful day with your family.
A Travel enthusiast and Foodie, craving to explore the intricate beauty of nature and its gift of delectable treats. Pens down his thoughts and experiences to present a delightful journey for his readers