Muckross Franciscan Friary / Abbey, Co. Kerry
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Muckross Abbey is one of the major ecclesiastical sites found in the Killarney National Park, County Kerry. It was founded in 1448 as a Franciscan friary for the Observantine Franciscans by Donal McCarthy Mor. It has had a violent history and has been damaged and reconstructed many times. The friars were often persecuted and subjected to raids by marauding groups. Today the abbey is largely roofless although, apart from this, is generally quite well preserved. Its most striking feature is a central courtyard, which contains a large yew tree and is surrounded by a vaulted cloister. In the 17th and 18th centuries, it became the burial place for prominent County Kerry poets O'Donoghue, O'Rathaille and O'Suilleabhain. The tower, which was inserted after the church was built, is the only Franciscan tower in Ireland which is as wide as the church. The most remarkable part of the friary is the cloister with an old yew tree in the centre surrounded by a cloister arcade different on each side, indicating various building phases. There are buildings on the first floor above it. On the east side was possibly the monks' day room, and above it a dormitory. On the north side lay a store, above which was the refectory with a kitchen beside it. The ground floor on the western side was probably a cellar, while the Guardian lived on the first floor. To the north of the choir of the church is a three-storey building; the ground floor was the Sacristy while the sacristan probably lived on the floor above. The Friary was suppressed in 1541. In 1587 it was leased to the Earl of Clancarty and in 1595 to Captain Collum. The Friary was formally re-established in 1612 after it had been re-occupied and partially restored in 1602. The restoration work was completed by 1626, but the community had to leave again in 1629. shortly afterwards the friars returned once more, but were finally driven out by the Cromwellians in 1652.

More about Monastic Sites in Ireland you will find HERE.


4km from Killarney along N71 (Kenmare Road). 5-10 mins walk from car park near Muckross Park Hotel


Access all year round, except to areas undergoing conservation works.




Public car park close to site.