The Abbey of Muckross KIllarney or the Franciscan Friary of Irrelagh, was founded for the Observatine Franciscans in 1448, and is the burial place of local chieftains and three Gaelic poets
It is famous for the large ancient yew tree that rises above the cloister and extends over the abbey walls. Some think the abbey was built around the tree, as yews are seen in folk lore as a tree of life and linked to the immortality of the soul.
Muckross Abbey Today
While today it is a ruin and has no roof, the building is reasonably well preserved
The abbey is open to the public and is a short five- minute walk from the car park on the N71. It is three miles from Killarney Town.
The Ghost of the Brown Man
It has been rumoured that the abbey and its adjoining graveyard may have inspired Dublin-born writer Bram Stoker.
Historical records document that a religious hermit named John Drake lived in the abandoned friary for eleven years during the mid 1700s. Drake famously slept in a coffin.
Meanwhile, an ancient legend tells of “the Brown Man” who was seen by his wife feasting on a corpse within one of the graves.
These stories may have fueled the Dracula novel, written by Stoker, who visited the area in the late 19th century, and was seen wandering around the ruins late at night.
Today, visitors to Muckross Abbey agree that it has an uncomfortably spooky atmosphere.
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