Muckross Abbey and Lough Leane

After the Gap of Dunloe, we had intended going into Killarney for the afternoon, but the Adventure Race was causing traffic mayhem getting back into town, so we headed in the opposite direction and went for a walk to Muckross Abbey. It’s a ruined Franciscan Friary near the edge of Lough Leane. The Lough has to be one of the most picturesque places. As you walk down from the road the vista opens up, lake spread out before you, the trees just starting to turn, and the Kerry mountains providing the perfect backdrop. We didn’t quite have the best light for it, with the sun streaming through the clouds it would have been heaven.

The abbey has very well preserved cloisters which surround a very unusual and massive yew tree, very straight and upright with a trunk that seems to twist. Whether on purpose or just nature, it’s very impressive.

The surrounding churchyard is still active, or at least has been in the last 20 years or so going by the dates. One unusual thing we spotted was that over the years it’s become the thing to put the address of the deceased in the headstone. Since the 80’s that includes the house number, where as for earlier times it was the street and town, and earlier just the town or village. Whether this reflected the sparseness of the inhabitants, common family names or just the desire to distinguish the departed it’s not clear. But it’s almost as if you could send them a get well card.

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