Once a monastery where monks whispered their daily prayers, now a fascinating site of mossy ruins, find Muckross Abbey deep in Killarney National Park. Wander through rooms with a turbulent history of violence and destruction. You can now sit peacefully among the trees and flowers that grow around them.
Look for a weathered stone construction standing behind a small and cluttered cemetery. Roam Muckross Abbey at your own pace. What remains is a roofless church with a tower and small windows, a vaulted cloister and a square courtyard surrounded by an arched arcade.
Enjoy an atmospheric history lesson about religious life in Ireland or just the unique attraction of a ruined monastery in beautiful surroundings. This has been a sacred site for many centuries. It is said to have been the site of another monastery in the early days of Christianity in Ireland, about the 6th century. See the current buildings dating from 1448, some of the important religious sites of the park. The original inhabitants were the Observantine Franciscans. Cromwell’s forces drove the last monks out in the 1650s and burned the structure.
As you wander through the ruins’ passageways, notice the moss growing up the stone walls showing nature reclaiming the structure. See the historic cemetery, still in occasional use. It has the graves of many clan chieftains from history, as well as beloved figures from Gaelic literature. Growing in the courtyard is an enormous yew tree, thought to be as old as the building around it.
Include a visit to Muckross Abbey on a walking or cycling tour of Killarney National Park. Try riding in a traditional jaunting car pulled by a horse. To drive, park just off the road at Muckross House. From here, walk 15 minutes to Muckross Abbey. Start at Flesk Bridge on Muckross Road and continue via the abbey to the wider Killarney National Park. Visit Muckross Abbey for free, any time of year.