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The Franciscans first came to Muckross, outside Killarney, about 1448.After the suppression of that friary, the friars stayed in the area ministering to the people. The last remaining friar left Killarney in 1849.
Belgian friars who were helping to re-establish the English Franciscan Province came to Ireland in 1858 to restore the ailing Irish Province to its former state of observance of the Franciscan Rule. After a short stay in Gorey, they moved to Killarney in 1860. Killarney Franciscan church was opened in 1867, the friary in 1879 and in 1902 this became the Novitiate House of the Irish Province and was so for many decades. The novitiate is now in Ennis friary.
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