The old KenmareCemetery can be found just outside the town of Kenmare. Take the road to Glengarriff and just over the bridge turn left. You will find the graveyard just before you come to the Sheen Falls Hotel. Theres a sign that says no access but this means no access to the land beside the Burial Ground.
The graveyard was the site of an early monastic settlement founded by Saint Finian of Innisfallen who died at the end of the 7th Century. The Church of St Finian is in now ruins.
Nearby you will see the Famine Plot (Irish potato famine) where over 5,000 local people are said to have been buried during the great famine. Such was the level of poverty in the area during the great Irish famine that the medical officer in the Kenmare workhouse (a workhouse was the name given to feeding stations set up by the English to feed the starving during the Irish potato famine) described the workhouse as “an engine for producing disease and death”.
Regarded by many as the focal point of the National Park. Muckross House enjoys a majestic location looking out onto Muckross Lake. The house was designed by William Burns a Scottish architect for Henry Arthur Herbert and his wife Mary Balfour. With a total of some sixty-five rooms, it was built in Tudor style and typified the elegant lifestyle of the 19th century land owning class. Muckross house itself was built over a period of years from 1839 to 1843 but further work was carried out during the 1850’s in preparation for Queen Victoria’s visit. It is said that these improvements for the Queen's visit were a contributory factor to the financial difficulties suffered by the Herbert family which resulted in the sale of the estate. At the time the building is reported to have cost some £30,000.
The Herbert family sold Muckross house in 1899 to Lord Ardilaun of the Guinness family who in turn sold it on to the Bowers Bourn family of California in 1910. They presented it as a wedding present (everyone should give a house as a wedding present) to their daughter Maud and her husband Arthur Vincent. The house became home to Maud and her husband Arthur Vincent and during the years between 1911 and 1932, over £110,000 was lavished on improvements to the Estate. In 1915 the SunkenGarden, designed by Wallace and Co. of Colchester, was laid out. The Rock Garden was developed on a natural outcrop of Carboniferous limestone and the Stream Garden was also landscaped.
Maud Vincent died of pneumonia in New York in February 1929 on her way to visit her parents in California. Her husband and children continued to live at Muckross for a further three years until 1932. In 1932 Mr Vincent with his parents-in-law, donated the house and gardens to the Irish nation.
The Bourn Vincent Memorial Park Bill was put before Dáil Éireann (Irish Parliament) on December 7th 1932 and it took effect on December 31st. Under this Act, the Commissioners of Public Works were required to 'maintain and manage the Park as a National Park for the purpose of the recreation and enjoyment of the public'.
The house is open to the public, an entrance fee applies. Visit the Muckross House website for details. Entrance to the gardens is free.
Also of interest at Muckross is a Traditional Farm, a Craft Shop (incorporating weaving, pottery and bookbinding workshops) and a Garden Restaurant.
Muckross House & Muckross Traditional Farms are fully accredited Museums.
Muckross Abbey is both an Old Irish Monastery & Modern Irish Graveyard. It is situated in the middle of the national park and a five minute walk from Muckross house car park. It dates back to the beginnings of Christianity in Ireland. The first monastery was reputed to have been built here by Saint Fionan sometime in the 6th century.
What you see today are the ruins of a Franciscan friary which was founded here in the 15th century and are in very good state of preservation with the walls of the Cloister and its associated buildings in their original and complete state. The monks of Muckross Abbey were driven out in the 1650’s by the infamous Cromwellian forces.
Right next to the abbey is a graveyard which is in a poor state of repair but is still used to this day as an active burial ground. The graveyard is said to hold the remains of the O’Donoghue chieftains amongst many others in it's grounds.
Access to Muckross Abbey is free and it is open year round. A visit is recommended.
It is as the name says a waterfall, and like all waterfalls it is best seen after heavy rains. Torc waterfall is a 5 minute walk off the N71 Killarney Kenmare road through scenic woodland. The waterfall is some 70 to 80 feet high and the Owengarriff river which feeds it rises in “The Devil’s Punchbowl” on nearby Mangerton mountain.
If you want a good viewing point of the lakes then push yourself a little further and climb the 100 or so steps immediately to the left of the waterfall to get some excellent views of the lakes. Torc waterfall is one of Killarney’s most well known tourist attractions and a traditional stopping point for bus and coach tours. As a result it can get busy and congested around this area in the peak summer months.