Our favorite stop in Killarney, Ireland was Muckross House. This Victorian Mansion is part of the Killarney National Park–the first national park ever created in Ireland. The tour of the house was better than a museum and the grounds were majestic. The history of Muckross House fascinated us. For example, there was a family that lived there at one time who spent an enormous amount of funds and experienced financial difficulties preparing the house for Queen Victoria’s visit. The house also was shut for 30 years at the beginning of WWII and later when it was occupied for a while by the Irish Army.
The house is currently preserved so well and the tour guides are very enthusiastic and informative. The blinds and shutters are positioned to restrict a certain amount of light into the House so as to protect the furniture and materials displayed. The decorations and artifacts are stunning and representative of the glory years of the Victorian era. The property was rented out for parties, fishing and hunting. Inside the rooms, you’ll see mahogany furniture, Turkish carpets, flocked wallpaper and Italian marble.
A Japanese urn and curtains specially woven are part of the grandeur of the dining room. Woodcarved sideboards and fantastic animal head trophies of the hunt boldly stand out in the Main Hall. The rich carvings reminiscent of Victorian style prominently adorn the mansion. The Billiard Room where men enjoyed cigars and bonded had walls decorated with Chinese silk. Twisted balusters on the Upper Landing and grand portraits below a beautiful ceiling molding lend so much formality to the architecture.
The grounds were unbelievable, really. The vivid colors of flowers we couldn’t identify were gorgeous and the grounds extended to a beautiful body of water. We literally frolicked through the grounds.The boudoir, children’s playroom and impressive kitchen and servant system featured unique details but the room that intrigues my sons still to this day was the Queen’s bedroom which served as the bedroom during her visit. The wallpaper, polished limestone chimney-piece, gilted mirrors, finest mahogany and gold silk damask fabric all adorn this stately room.
The room that I liked the best was the kitchen which had bells to correspond to every room in the house. The servants knew who was ordering service and where to deliver the food. The cook had to give permission to anyone wanting to enter the kitchen except for the Lady of the house. And in typical Victorian design, the kitchen is built outside of the main block of the house to restrict the smells from the family and guests. That was one long walk from the kitchen to the dining room for servants carrying food!
Queen Victoria’s visit was a success as she enjoyed the grounds, the ceremonial reception and party and visited the nearby Torc Waterfall also featured on this blog at: