A visit to the impressive Muckross House and Gardens is one of the most popular things to do in Killarney.
Muckross House is considered a focal point in the stunning Killarney National Park, the oldest national park in Ireland.
This enchanting 19th century Victorian mansion is nestled on the little Muckross Peninsula between two captivating lakes, Muckross and Lough Leane.
In the guide below, you’ll discover everything you need to know if you fancy visiting Muckross House and Gardens in Killarney.
Some quick need-to-knows before visiting Muckross House and Gardens in Killarney
Although a visit to Muckross House in Killarney is fairly straightforward, there are a few need-to-knows that’ll make your visit smoother.
Pay particular attention to point 3, about getting around, as this is a great option for exploring the park.
You’ll find Muckross House and Gardens in Killarney National Park, around 4km from Killarney Town and a stone’s throw from many of the the areas most popular attractions.
There’s a car park right next to Muckross House and Gardens. You’ve a short stroll then to both the House and Muckross Abbey (there’s also public toilets nearby).
3. The best way to see it
Personally, I think the best way to see Muckross House and all of the National Park is by bike. You can rent one in the town and zip around all of the different sites in the park with ease (there are cycle lanes).
Muckross House history (a speedy overview)
The Muckross estate goes as far back as the 17th century, when wealthy Welshman, Henry Arthur Herbert, came to settle in Killarney.
Herbert build the impressive Muckross House in Killarney as a home (very fancy altogether!) for his family and it was completed in 1843.
Extensive landscaping was carried out by the family in 1861, creating the Muckross Gardens and just before Queen Victoria came for a visit.
Then money became a problem
By the late 19th century, the Herbert family were faced with a series of financial problems ending their 200 year reign and in 1899, the whole 13,000 acres of estate was sold to Lord Ardilaun, who was a member of the Guinness family.
He then sold the property to Mr William Bowers Bourn, a Californian, in 1911, who then gave the estate to his daughter Maud on her marriage.
Maud’s reign and the National Park
Maud carried out many developments to the estate until her death in 1929 and then the estate was gifted to the Irish State in 1932.
In 1964, Muckross Estate became Ireland’s first National Park, which we now know as Killarney National Park.
The Muckross House tour
The Muckross House tour has racked up rave reviews online over the years and the Elizabethan styled house can be easily explored on a 1 hour guided tour.
During the tour, you will get to visit 14 beautiful rooms in all such as a children’s wing, servants dining room, men’s dressing room and also the billiards room.
The main principal rooms at Muckross House in Killarney are furnished to replicate the elegant period style of the 19th century landowning class in Ireland.
There is an array of interesting artifacts on display, giving a powerful insight into working life at Muckross House back in the day.
Muckross House and Gardens is open from 09:00 – 17:00 from Monday to Sunday. However, please ensure that you check the times in advance of your visit.
Admission (prices may change)
- Adult €9.25
- Groups, Senior Citizen, Student (over 18) €7.75
- Child (aged 3-12) Free
- Child (aged 13-18) €6.25
- Family (2+2) €29.00
- Family (2+3) €33.00
Other things to see and do at Muckross House and Gardens
There’s plenty of other things to see and do at Muckross House and Gardens, from tasty eats at the cafe to the fabulous gardens.
1. Muckross Gardens
Muckross Gardens are home to many exotic trees and shrubs including azaleas and rhododendrons.
There is no better way to spend a beautiful sunny day that exploring the many gardens such as the Rock Garden made from natural limestone, the extensive Water Garden and the ornate Sunken Garden.
In the arboretum is a large collection of trees that originate from the Southern Hemisphere and there is also the Walled Garden Centre which opens onto the Victoria walled garden.
The Garden Centre prides itself on growing a big selection of seasonal bedding plants so you can take a little bit of the magic back home with you!
2. The traditional farm
The traditional farm at Muckross House and Gardens will give visitors the opportunity to experience the day to day life of a farmer from the 1930s and 1940s.
During those times, there was no electricity introduced to the countryside so daily chores often involved a lot of work such as butter churning and baking bread.
Horses played an integral role for most farming activities as their sheer strength was utilised to help with farm machinery. What is particularly interesting is how the farmer’s activities were often dictated by the seasons and the weather.
On the site, there is also a Carpenter’s Workshop, Blacksmith’s Forge, Labourer’s Cottage and a schoolhouse so there is plenty to see and do.
3. The weavers
Mucros Weavers have been producing high-quality woven accessories for over thirty years, with the help of expert master weaver John Cahill.
The weavers specialise in colourful scarves, stoles, capes, rugs, headwear and elegant bags. The products can be made from a selection of different materials like wool, alpaca and mohair.
Not only can you buy one of these amazing products but you can also watch them being made through intricate spinning and weaving in the craft workshop.
What started out relatively small, Mucro Weavers have grown huge and supply products to over one hundred stores across the globe.
4. The restaurant and cafe
The restaurant at Muckross House and Gardens is set against the beautiful backdrop of Torc and Mangerton Mountains, the perfect visual feast to accompany your feast.
The self-service restaurant offers choice between eight and ten options from their hot food buffet though they do cater for anyone looking a light snack or brunch with soups, pastries and homemade scones.
There’s also plenty of other places to eat in Killarney if you fancy dropping into the town (there’s plenty of great pubs in Killarney, too!).
Things to do near Muckross House in Killarney
One of the beauties of Muckross House in Killarney is that it’s a short spin away from a clatter of other things to do in Killarney, both man-made and natural.
Below, you’ll find a handful of things to see and do a stone’s throw from Muckross House and Gardens (plus places to eat and where to grab a post-adventure pint!).
1. Muckross Abbey
Located in the Killarney National Park, Muckross Abbey site was founded in 1448 as a Franciscan friary though it had a violent history and was often damaged and reconstructed many times.
The friars who lived there were often raided by marauding groups and also persecuted by Cromwellian forces.
While the abbey is mostly roofless, it is still fairly well preserved, you can see a huge yew tree and central courtyard amongst other things.
2. Ross Castle
The 15th century Ross Castle is situated on the edge of Lough Leane, once an ancestral home to the O’Donoghue clan.
The castle is well-preserved and you could say it represents the resilience of the Irish spirit. There is also a number of interesting rooms to explore, each one with a unique story or legend.
3. Torc Waterfall
The 20 metres high and 110 metres long Torc Waterfall was created by the Owengarriff River as it drains from the Devil’s Punchbowl lake.
Some nearby walks include the strenuous Cardiac Hill and the incredible Torc Mountain Walk (the views from both are excellent!).
4. The Gap of Dunloe
This narrow mountain pass is situated between the Purple Mountain and MacGillycuddy Reeks. It takes around 2.5 hours to walk the whole Gap though many visitors like to cycle.
The Gap of Dunloe starts at Kate Kearney’s Cottage and can get narrow in some spots so it’s advised to exercise caution if you walk or drive through it. Just don’t miss the Wishing Bridge, where if you make a wish it comes true!
5. Looooads more places to visit
As Muckross House is on the Ring of Kerry, there’s no end to the number of things to do and places to visit nearby. Here’s a few suggestions:
- Torc Waterfall
- Ladies View
- Moll’s Gap
- Killarney National Park walks
- Beaches near Killarney
- The Black Valley
FAQs about visiting Muckross House and Gardens in Killarney
We’ve had a lot of questions over the years asking about everything from the Muckross House and Gardens tour to what to see nearby.
In the section below, we’ve popped in the most FAQs that we’ve received. If you have a question that we haven’t tackled, ask away in the comments section below.
Is Muckross House and Gardens worth visiting?
If you’re into history and architecture, yes – it 100% is. If you’re not, then it probably isn’t! The reviews online for Muckross House and Gardens speak for themselves, if you’re in doubt!
What is there to see at Muckross House and Gardens?
You can explore the house itself on a tour, ramble around the finely kept gardens, visit the old farm, check out the weavers and then round off your visit with a feed at the restaurant.
Is there much to see and do near Muckross House and Gardens?
Yes! There’s lots to see and do near Muckross House and Gardens. You can visit Muckross Abbey, the Killarney Lakes, Ross Castle, Torc Waterfall and much more.