Muckross Abbey (or Friary) dates from the 15th century and is a well-preserved ruin in a serene setting in Killarney National Park. Legend says that Donal McCarthy dreamed about founding an abbey on “the rock of the music.” Haunting music nearby his home led him to found the friary near the shore of Lough Leane.
Today’s peaceful setting belies its violent and bloody history. The roofless abbey has a graceful cloister with a huge, ancient yew tree growing in the center. A bell tower, elaborate arcades and carved monuments remain. An interesting cemetery contains the graves of chieftains, poets and a king. Well worth exploring, care should be taken when climbing the towers and stairs.
The entrance is on Muckross Road a few miles from Killarney. A walk of about half a mile through trees and parkland will bring you to the abbey. Jaunting cars are usually available for the short ride also.
© 2011 Michele Erdvig
“Ireland Travel Expert”
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