The French monarch might possibly be able to erect another Versailles, but could not with all his revenues lay out another Muckross.
( An 18th century visitor to Killarney quoted by the Traveller Writer Charles Smith)
Muckross House is a magnificent Victorian mansion completed in 1843 for Henry Arthur Herbert. It is the last in a series of large houses constructed by the Herbert family on their lands at Muckross where their fortune derived from mining copper.
The location of the House is spectacular, close to the eastern shore of Muckross Lake and set beneath the impressive backdrop of Torc and Mangerton Mountains.
The Herberts sold the estate in 1899, and after a short ownership by Lord Ardilaun (of the Guinness brewing family) it was purchased by the wealthy American William Bowers Bourn in 1910 as a wedding present for his only daughter, Maud, and son-in-law Arthur Vincent. After the premature death of Maud in 1929, the house and estate were donated to the Irish State by Arthur Vincent and his parents-in-law in 1932.
Entry to Muckross Gardens is free as is parking, but there is an admission free for Muckross House. Guided tours take place through the day.
There is an excellent Garden Restaurant at the house plus a craft shop featuring award-winning tweeds, pottery and diaries hand-crafted in workshops adjoining the house.
Muckross Traditional Farms adjoins the house and gardens. Tickets for the farms may be bought separately, or a combined ticket is available for the house and farms.
Farm houses and cottages representing the various strata of society in rural Ireland of the 1930s and 1940s are staffed by the woman of the house or the bean a tí who explains farming practices. Demonstrations of butter-making, bread-making and hand-milking take place during the day. The experience also includes the Muckross School House where the ‘school master’ addresses visitors. The farms also include a play area for children and a pet area.