Despite being built as a private residence, there’s something distinctly institutional about Muckross House, County Kerry; this impression not helped, obviously by the expanses of bleak gravel in front of the building. Replacing an earlier house, the present Jacobethan-style one dates from 1839-43 when designed by Scottish architect William Burn for Colonel Herbert. It was here that the Herberts famously entertained Queen Victoria in 1861 during her visit to Killarney, and seemingly the cost of the royal stay (for which the house was lavishly redecorated) together with declining income from their estates, led the family to bankruptcy; in 1899 Arthur Guinness, Lord Ardilaun bought Muckross for his wife Olivia whose mother had been a Herbert. Then, the property was sold to an American William Bowers Bourn who in turn presented it to his daughter Maud on the occasion of her marriage to Arthur Vincent. But following her early death, in 1932 Bourn and Vincent decided to present the house and surrounding 11,000 acres to the Irish nation and it has remained in public ownership ever since. Standing on the terrace and looking west towards Muckross Lake, it is easy to understand why the house was built here, even if harder to understand why it was built in quite such an unforgiving style.

7 comments on “Institutionalised

  1. Emma Richey says:

    Beautiful views

    • Geraldine Rosney says:

      Magnificent House with stunning views of the Lakes of Killarney and great garden, a jewel in the Crown that is Killarney National Park
      The People of Killarney very proud of this House.

  2. I’ll be odd man out on this one: I like this house.

  3. Elizabeth Printy says:

    I think it’s stunning!! COMMIT ME.

  4. Michael Thomas says:

    Was there a few years ago.Amazing setting but thought the house looked very forlorn and drear

  5. Liam says:

    This house was made from Portland stone which was exported from Britain, every block, an amazing achievement in its time.

  6. soanian says:

    Beautiful view and setting for the house.

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