Kylemore Abbey is a historic destination of romance, grandeur and breath-taking beauty. It’s no wonder it’s one of Ireland’s top tourist attractions. The lakeside castle sits in splendid isolation on the edge of Connemara National Park. It’s only an hour drive from Galway, so there’s no excuse to deny yourself the magnificence of Kylemore and the savage beauty of Connemara!
The castle came to pass when Mitchell and Margaret Henry travelled to the Connemara region on their honeymoon from England in 1850. They quickly fell in love with the untouched beauty of Connemara, mesmerised by rugged mountains and rich meadowlands. After inheriting a fortune, Mitchell bought Kylemore Lodge and begun building the castle in 1867. The elaborate castle was a romantic token for his wife Margaret and a nest for their 9 children. Travel through time as you behold the near-perfect reflection of the fairy-tale castle in Lough Pollacapull.
Roughly 30 years later the castle was sold to the Duke and Duchess of Manchester until becoming owned and operated by a Benedictine community in the 1920’s. In a few short years the Benedictine nuns converted the castle into an abbey and opened a international boarding school for girls. Saint Benedict accurately described the garden grounds as ‘her secret haven of peace and tranquillity’. Entering the front door of the Abbey you are immediately greeted by a beautifully carved angel, holding the coat of arms of Margaret Henry’s birth family. Intricate carvings of birds throughout the Abbey represent the nesting place that both the Henry’s hoped Kylemore would be for their family.
Despite being a popular tourist destination, an atmosphere of tranquillity and calmness continues to surround the area. Developed alongside the castle in the 1800s, the Victorian Walled Garden at Kylemore is a beautiful sanctuary of flower beds, ferns, fruit trees, vegetables and herbs. The garden is the true jewel in Connemara’s Crown. Beyond here you will find the sweeping splendour and constantly changing moods of the Connemara countryside.
Experience woodland and lakeside shore walks, ever-changing colourful gardens and magnificent architecture when you visit Kylemore. Walk just five minutes alongside Lough Pollacapull and you will discover the enchanting 1800s neo-Gothic Church. When you visit Connemara and Kylemore Abbey you are guaranteed to discover unique beauty in stunning architecture and windswept countryside.