The manufacture of Killarney Ware developed into an industry in the early 19th Century, when the town, although inaccessible to most, became a tourist attraction for the wealthy and the persevering who wished to see the lakes. During the 1820s bog-oak and bog-yew were dug up and carved into souvenir trinkets such as egg-cups, snuff boxes and card-cases. Cabinets, davenports and games-tables were elaborately inlaid with local scenes and engravings found in guide-books, as well as the local flora, typically ferns and oak leaves, as found on this table, fauna and of course, the Irish harp.
The top of this table depicts Muckross Abbey, a favorite motif. Muckross Abbey was founded in 1440, by Donal McCarthy More, Prince of Desmond, or South Munster, on the site of an earlier monastery. McCarthy More was drawn to this spot, the 'Rock of Song', local legend has it, by a child's song, in an act of repentance for a life of misdeeds, to found an abbey for the order of the Franciscans.