Muckross Abbey is one of the major ecclesiastical sites found in the Killarney
National Park, County Kerry, Ireland. It was founded in 1448 as a Franciscan
friary for the Observantine Franciscans by Donal McCarthy Mor.
It has had
a violent history and has been damaged and reconstructed many times. The friars
were often subjected to raids by marauding groups and were persecuted by
Cromwellian forces under Lord Ludlow. Today the abbey is largely roofless
although, apart from this, is generally quite well preserved. Its most striking
feature is a central courtyard, which contains a large yew tree and is
surrounded by a vaulted cloister.
Muckross Abbey was the burial place of
local chieftains, and in the 17th and 18th centuries, the three Gaelic poets,
Geoffrey O’Donoghue, Aodhagan O’Rathaille and Eoghan Rua O’Suilleabhain. The
graveyard in the grounds surrounding the Abbey is still in use with a number of
burials there each year.