Muckross House & Gardens

Muckross House, probably mid 1860s

The Muckross estate dates back to the 17th Century when the first member of the Herbert family, who were originally from Wales, came to settle in Killarney. The present day Muckross House was built for Henry Arthur Herbert and his family. It was completed in 1843. It is situated close to the eastern shore of Muckross Lake, taking full advantage of the magnificent views which can be enjoyed from this location. Most of the house has been preserved as a late 19th century mansion, with furniture and artefacts from that period.

Muckross Gardens adjoin Muckross House and are mainly informal in style. They date back to the mid-19th century when extensive landscaping was carried out by the Herbert family in preparation for the visit of Britain’s Queen Victoria in 1861. Throughout their tenure at Muckross, the Herbert’s played a very active role in social and political life and in the development and improvement of the Muckross Estate.

However, by the late 19th century a series of financial problems heralded the end of over 200 years of the Herbert family at Muckross. In 1899, the Muckross Estate, encompassing approximately 1,300 acres of demesne lands was sold to Lord Ardilaun, a member of the Guinness family. He then sold the property to a Californian, Mr. William Bowers Bourn in 1911, who gave the estate to his daughter Maud, on her marriage to Mr. Arthur Rose Vincent. They carried out a number of developments to the estate over the following 20 years.

The estate, comprising about 13,000 acres, was presented to the Irish Free State in 1932 and became the Bourn-Vincent Memorial Park, in memory of Maud who died in 1929. The Muckross Estate became Ireland’s first National Park. In 1964, a group of local people, concerned at the continued closure of Muckross House over 30 years after it had passed into State ownership, came together and formed the Trustees of Muckross House (Killarney) Limited. They approached the Minister for Finance, who had responsibility for the Memorial Park at that time, proposed that the house be opened to the public. This proposal was accepted and the successful partnership between the State and the Trustees of Muckross House has endured to the present day.

Today the gardens, including the nearby Arboretum, are internationally recognised for their plant collections, including many southern hemisphere species and other tender species which thrive here in the mild climate.

Vehicle access to Muckross House and Gardens is via a well-signposted right turn off the N71, just over 6km south of Killarney town.

Admission to Muckross House is by guided tour only.

The house is open from 0900 – 1730hrs daily (last admission 1630hrs) September to June; and 0900 – 1900hrs (last admission 1800hrs) during July and August. Last admission is one hour before closing.

For further information about Muckross House, Gardens and the Traditional Farms please visit: www.muckross-house.ie.

Phone: (064) 667 0144

e-mail: muckrosshousetours@ahg.gov.ie