~ Star of a Million Holiday Snaps ~
Muckross House is the quintessential Victorian mansion, built in a Tudor Style. Wreathed in ivy, the house rises from superbly designed gardens, the light from nearby Muckross Lake glinting off hundreds of diamond-paned windows. Muckross House is situated in the heart of Killarney National Park, on a small peninsula between Muckross Lake and Lough Leane, just ten minutes’ drive from the Killarney Park Hotel. Talk to our Concierge Team to organise your visit to one of the jewels of Killarney National Park.
Muckross House was originally built for Henry Arthur Herbert and his wife, Artist Mary Balfour Herbert. This was actually the fourth house that successive generations of the Herbert family had occupied at Muckross over a period of 200 years. William Burn, the well-known Scottish architect, was responsible for the structural design. Building of the house began in 1839 and was completed in 1843. Huge improvements were undertaken in the 1850's in preparation for the visit of Queen Victoria to Muckross 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 resulted in the sale of the estate to the Guinness Family. In the early 20th Century, the House was sold to William Bowers Bourn, a mining tycoon from California. It was passed to his daughter Maud and her husband Arthur Rose Vincent on the occasion of their Wedding. Until Maud's untimely death, the couple lived at the House.
In 1932 her parents Mr and Mrs Bourn and their son-in-law Arthur Vincent donated Muckross House and its 11,000 acre estate to the fledgling Irish nation. Being called the ″Bourne-Vincent Memorial Park″, it thus became the first National Park in the Republic of Ireland and formed the basis of the present-day sprawling and beautiful Killarney National Park.
Why not enjoy a guided tour of the House and step back in time to the world of the 19th century. The elegantly furnished rooms in the upper storey depict the lives of the landed gentry in the mid-1800s; the more basic accommodation in the basement reveals what life was like for the servants employed in the house. A centre focused on Kerry folk life contains workshops where bookbinders, potters, and weavers demonstrate their work. You may buy samples in the craft shop, next to the excellent cafe/restaurant.
The impressive Muckross Gardens offer an alluring setting for the magnificent House, with flowing lawns, a water garden, an acclaimed arboretum, and a truly exceptional limestone rockery. The Gardens are noted particularly for shrubs such as rhododendrons and azaleas. You could spend hours strolling through the Gardens and enjoying the elegant setting before returning to the Killarney Park Hotel – a fitting complement to the astounding beauty on its doorstep.