Adare and Muckross House

Picture posting has been screwing up my blogs so I will be placing most of them at the bottom of the post.  Sorry bout that.

We drove up to Adare from Kilarney to start the day, just a bit under an hours drive. It’s a lovely little town, often referred to as the most picturesque village in Ireland, with the castle and the 1800s thatched buildings the main attractions.

Desmond Castle - the ramp is the drawbridge location

Desmond Castle - the ramp is the drawbridge location

We toured the Desmond Castle which is a great example of a Norman defensive stronghold; it was originally built in 1202. It is the only castle in Ireland with an operating (obviously restored) portcullis, the drop-down gate inside the curtain wall entrance to the courtyard. It also has the classic moat and drawbridge that leads into the keep. The tree growing in the courtyard is a yew tree. They were grown in castles and graveyards; in the castle for bow making stock and in the graveyards as a disincentive against the common folk grazing their animals. The needles dropped by the yew are mildly poisonous to the livestock.

The thached cottages date from the 1805 timeframe and are still in use, mostly as shops, but as you can see they are for rent (to let). The thatching is interesting, it is basically bundles of dried reed that are layered on the roof framework about a foot deep. They overlap and are installed from the bottom up so they overlap like regular shingles. In windy areas they have a rope net that is tied over the roof to keep the thatch in place. From what I was told they are actually pretty servicable as roofing although they can leak a bit if you get heavy rain.

There is a very nice town park with a thatched gazebo and the restored clothes washing pool complete with the worn stones that were used to scrub the clothes. We had a nice picnic lunch and I made the mistake of feeding one bird that had a bad leg which ensured that we had plenty of company until we finished and left.

We headed back to Kilarney to visit the Muckross House just southwest of town. This is a large manor house, gardens and grounds originally built for the Herbert family. The house has 65 rooms, 25 bedrooms plus rooms that were built with no purpose, just to make the house bigger and demonstrate the owners wealth. The house was built over four years and completed in 1843. Queen Victoria visited the area and stayed in the house for two days; the family had six years notice of the visit and extensive renovation of the house and gardens was undertaken. The cost of the renovations and the death of Henry Herbert caused the family economic hardship and the house was sold in the late 1800s to Lord and Lady Ardilaun. It passed to the Bourn Vincent family who presented it to the government with 11,000 acres, starting the Killarney National Park in 1932; the first national park in Ireland.

The Muckross Traditional Farms are also located at Muckross House. This is 75 acres of farms, blacksmith, carpenter’s shop and etc that are working places of buisness and show the way of life prior to electrification in the 1930s. We didn’t have time to visit both the house and the farms so we toured the house. With all the scenery and attractions in the area, you could easily spend a week in Killarney and still not see it all. That has been the story of this trip, to much to see and not enough time. Having a great time though.

Slante, Pat

The portcullis at Desmond Castle

The portcullis at Desmond Castle

 

Thatched cottage in Adare

Thatched cottage in Adare

 

Care to rent a classic small home?

Care to rent a classic small home?

The community water source at Adare

The community water source at Adare

Clothes washing pool at Adare.  The scrubbing rocks are to the left.

Clothes washing pool at Adare. The scrubbing rocks are to the left.

Muckross House main entrance

Muckross House main entrance

Muckross House rear view

Muckross House rear view

There are many large specimen trees at Muckross

There are many large specimen trees at Muckross

In the gardens.  May not look remarkable, but the leaves are three feet across!

In the gardens. May not look remarkable, but the leaves are three feet across!

 

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