Danny Yee >> Travelogues >> Ireland: Munster + Dublin

Killarney: Ross Castle + Muckross House


It was raining pretty heavily and we forgot to set an alarm clock and slept in. But we got to Ross Castle, which is just on the outskirts of Killarney, in time for a tour at 10am.

Lough Leane from Ross Castle
Lough Leane ducks
Ross Castle under cloud

Ross Castle has been modified over the centuries, having been the home of an Anglo-Irish family and a barracks, but has been restored to something like its original 15th century state, as the watchtower keep of an Irish clan. It has roughly appropriate furnishings, etc. and the tour gives quite a good feel for what life was like five hundred years ago for an Irish chieftain and his family and entourage. Ross Castle was vastly more interesting than the ruin that is Blarney Castle, which dates to a similar period.

Next we visited Muckross House, a grand Victorian house which Queen Victoria herself visited in 1861. (They put her bedroom downstairs and had a special fire escape installed, because of her fear of fire.) The tour shows off the family living areas and bedrooms, but also gives a glimpse of all the work that had to be done "downstairs" by the domestic staff.

The house has lovely gardens and a large estate, in a beautiful location looking over the lake, but it was raining too much for us to wander around and appreciate those properly.

Muckross House
Muckross House greenhouse
Queen Victoria's fire escape
Heritage Ireland has a special on the first Wednesday of the month, so we got into both Ross Castle and Muckross House for free.

Morley's bridge
From there we drove back through the Gap of Dunloe, heading south to Kenmare. People did some shopping, we had lunch in a little bakery-cafe, and we looked at a small stone circle within walking distance of the town centre, which was really not worth the trouble.

We then drove via Morley's Bridge to where we were staying for the next two nights, in Tower, just outside Blarney.

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