Muckross House and Gardens


6km outside Killarney, Co. Kerry

A Magnificent Victorian mansion and leading stately home. The rooms are elegantly furnished reflecting the lifestyle of the period. The gardens portray unblemished beauty. There are three separate working farms with a selection of poultry, Kerry cattle and traditional farm machinery. The farms are in working use where you can observe the daily routine of the many craftsmen with their specialised trade.

Muckross House was built for Henry Arthur Herbert and his wife, the water colourist Mary Balfour Herbert. This was actually the fourth house that successive generations of the Herbert family had occupied at Muckross over a period of almost two hundred years. William Burn, the well-known Scottish architect, was the designer. Building commenced in 1839 and was completed in 1843.

Originally it was intended to build a more ornate house than we see here today. The plans for a larger servants' wing, stable block, orangery and summer-house are believed to have been altered at Mary's request. Today the principal rooms are furnished in period style and portray the elegant lifestyle of the 19th century landowning class. While in the basement, one can imagine the busy bustle of the servants as they went about their daily chores.

During the 1850s, the Herberts undertook extensive garden works in preparation for Queen Victoria's visit in 1861. Later, the Bourn Vincent family continued this gardening tradition. They purchased the estate from Lord and Lady Ardilaun early in the 20th century. It was at this time that the Sunken Garden, Rock Garden and Stream Garden were developed.