Muckross House and Gardens - Killarney
Muckross House and Gardens are located in the beautiful Killarney National Park in County Kerry. This beautiful 19th century Victorian mansion sits within a 11,000 acre estate, set amongst a stunning landscape of mountains and woodlands. It is one of Ireland's finest stately homes.
Muckross House dates back to 1843 and was built for Henry Arthur Herbert and his wife. The house was built in a Tudor style and consists of sixty-five rooms, set out over three floors. The Herbert's carried out substantial improvements in the 1850's in preparation for the visit of Queen Victoria in 1861, that are said to have put them in a difficult financial situation with them having to subsequently sell the house. The house has a long and interesting history having passed through various owners throughout the years. The principal rooms of this former residence have been restored to their former splendour and are decorated in a period style that illustrates the lavish lifestyle of the landed gentry of this time. The rooms are beautiful with ornate decorations and furnishings including beautiful Waterford Crystal chandeliers. Visitors will see the children's's bedrooms and nursery, entrance hall complete with a plethora of mounted trophy heads, library and drawing room and the specially prepared bedroom where Queen Victoria slept during her visit. Down in the basement you get to see the servants area and witness how they went about their daily chores. Access to the house is by a guided tour, experienced and friendly guides take visitors through the house and bring the history of the house and its inhabitants to life. The tours are very interesting and last about an hour.
The formal gardens are glorious and renowned for their beauty, they also underwent considerable works and improvements for the Queen Victorias visit. In later years the Sunken Garden, Rock Garden and the Stream Garden were completed. Features of these extensive gardens are splendid collections of azaleas and rhododendrons, as well as beautiful tree-fringed lawns. The gardens have a number of exotic trees and shrubs that flourish in the mild climate. The large glasshouses are filled with exotic flowers. There are a number of walks that take in these stunning gardens, lawns and surrounding forests, these walkways are mostly paved and easy to walk.
Muckross House is also home to a number of skilled craft workers and visitors are able to see them using traditional craft methods in the crafts of weaving, bookbinding and pottery in the walled garden centre located next door.
The house and gardens are open to the public throughout the year. During the year the house presents classical concerts, poetry readings and opera events.