Within Killarney National Park, Co Kerry Ireland, is Muckross House and Gardens, a magnificent Victorian mansion and one of Ireland’s leading stately homes. The house is a focal point within the Park and is the ideal base from which to explore its terrain.
Muckross House was built for Henry Arthur Herbert and his wife, the watercolorist 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.
A magnificent Victorian mansion and one of Ireland’s leading stately homes, the elegantly furnished rooms portray the lifestyles of the landed gentry, while downstairs in the basement one can experience the working conditions of the servants employed in the House.
During the 1850s, the Herbert’s 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.
The Gardens at Muckross House developed in the 20th century, are renowned world-wide for their beauty. In particular they are noted for their fine collections of azaleas and rhododendrons, an extensive water garden, and an outstanding rock garden hewn out of natural limestone.
Muckross House is also home to a number of skilled craft workers who can be viewed using traditional skills in the crafts of weaving, bookbinding and pottery.
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