Sunday, July 29, 2012

Muckross House

On our way from the Dingle Peninsula back to Kenmare, we stopped at Muckross House, a beautiful 19th century house set against the background of Killarney National Park. Built by an Irish politician and his watercolorist wife, the house was extensively improved and redecorated for the 1861 visit by Queen Victoria, improvements so extensive that their expense ultimately forced the family to sell. The home was purchased by a California mining magnate (from the family that built the Filoli Gardens in Woodside, California) as a wedding present for his daughter and her husband. The daughter did not live long, unfortunately, and the house and grounds were donated to the Irish state in 1932, with the land from the estate forming most of what became Killarney National Park. It sat vacant for many years, but is now restored.

 The famed Kerry cattle, a small breed which was headed for extinction, but is now on the increase, mainly because of its rich milk.
 Muckross Lake:
Entrance to the house is by timed ticket and we had a while to wait, so we took a jogging cart, pulled by a rather well fed Irish cob named Henry, along the Lake and up to Torc Waterfall:

On our drive back to Kenmare, we stopped a Ladies View, overlooking the Lakes of Killarney. It was named because Queen Victoria's ladies-in-waiting called it their favorite view.

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