Yew Tree at Muckross Abbey

 
 
This magnificent ancient yew tree rises from the centre of the cloisters of Muckross Abbey, Killarney, Co. Kerry.   The abbey dates from 1448 when it was built as a friary for the Observantine Franciscans and had a turbulent history; it was plundered by Cromwellian forces in 1652.
The yew at Muckross is one of the best examples of its kind in Ireland and is said to be as old as the abbey itself. One theory is that the courtyard and cloisters may even have built around the already mature yew which would make the tree over six hundred years old.
Yews are a regular sight in very old Irish graveyards and it is thought that this is due to the trees impressive longevity. The yew is often seen as a ‘tree of life’ because it out-lives so many generations and is thus linked to the immortality of the soul.
The atmosphere around this yew’s home at Muckross Abbey is very evocative and indeed it has been speculated that the eerie graveyard may have been in part the inspiration behind Bram Stoker’s Dracula. 
An old local ghost story called ‘The Brown Man’ tells of a mysterious stranger who is found by his newlywed wife alongside a freshly dug grave at Muckross Abeey feeding on the corpse within – a story which bares some ghoulish similarities to Bram Stoker’s own epic vampire horror novel.   
 
Stocker was a regular visitor to the area in the late 19th century and was said to have been seen roaming around Muckross late into the night
This magnificent ancient yew tree rises from the centre of the cloisters of Muckross Abbey, Killarney, Co. Kerry.   The abbey dates from 1448 when it was built as a friary for the Observantine Franciscans and had a turbulent history; it was plundered by Cromwellian forces in 1652.

The yew at Muckross is one of the best examples of its kind in Ireland and is said to be as old as the abbey itself. One theory is that the courtyard and cloisters may even have built around the already mature yew which would make the tree over six hundred years old.

Yews are a regular sight in very old Irish graveyards and it is thought that this is due to the trees impressive longevity. The yew is often seen as a ‘tree of life’ because it out-lives so many generations and is thus linked to the immortality of the soul.

The atmosphere around this yew’s home at Muckross Abbey is very evocative and indeed it has been speculated that the eerie graveyard may have been in part the inspiration behind Bram Stoker’s Dracula. 
An old local ghost story called ‘The Brown Man’ tells of a mysterious stranger who is found by his newlywed wife alongside a freshly dug grave at Muckross Abeey feeding on the corpse within – a story which bares some ghoulish similarities to Bram Stoker’s own epic vampire horror novel.    
Stocker was a regular visitor to the area in the late 19th century and was said to have been seen roaming around Muckross late into the night
 

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© Ciaran McHugh Photography 2009-2017, by Sea Design