Today went spent the whole day in Killarney National Park. Ireland’s first national park, it was established in 1932 with the donation of the Muckross Estate and its surrounding grounds. We first explored the wooded areas around the estate, climbing atop hills for spectacular views of Muckross Lake. The clouds left over from the early morning’s rainy weather only added to the ethereal scenery.
The forest itself was so dense and green, all of it carpeted in thick moss.
The forest path eventually gave way to a paved garden walk closer to the huge manor house of the estate. But first, we stopped at Torc Waterfall to take in the view, and had a quick lunch at the visitor’s center (I highly recommend the shepherd’s pie).
Finally, it was time to tour Muckross House. This Tudor style house was built in 1843 by copper magnate Henry Arthur Herbert and his wife, watercolorist Mary Balfour Herbert. Besides its beauty and integral role in the establishment of the park, the Muckross House is famous because Queen Victoria paid a visit in 1861. The family prepared for the two-day visit over the course of 5 years, and as a result, the bottom floor is lavishly outfitted in rich wall coverings and intricately carved furniture. Due to the high value of the items in the house, no photography is allowed inside—so you’ll have to come to Killarney to see it yourself!