Muckross Friary, County Kerry

Muckross Friary, County Kerry

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This Franciscan Friary was founded in the 15th century and is in a remarkable state of preservation. The tower was added after the church was built and is the only Franciscan tower in Ireland which is as wide as the church. The cloister and its associated buildings are complete and an old yew tree stands in the centre. The monks were finally driven out by the Cromwellians in 1652.
 
The title of the present Church links the Friary with its great predecessor, Muckross Abbey, more correctly called Irrelagh (Oir-bhealach, Eastern Way). This old Friary is situated near the shores of Lough Leane in the Killarney National Park, some three miles from the town. It was founded ca. 1448 with the help of the McCarthy Mor family and was the residence of the Friars until 1698, with some interruptions due to their expulsion under Elizabeth I in 1589 and Cromwell in 1652. The final dispersal took place as a result of the Penal Laws which came into effect on 1st May 1698. Under these laws all bishops and religious were to leave the country under pain of imprisonment or transportation. The Franciscan Provincial of the time Fr Anthony O'Kelly, decided that the law should be obeyed. In that year many, though not all, went into exile to France or Spain, only to return secretly at the first opportunity.

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