Kylemore Abbey is a Benedictine monastery founded in 1920 on the grounds of Kylemore Castle, in Connemara, County Galway, Ireland. The abbey was founded for Benedictine Nuns who fled Belgium in World War I.
Prior to Kylemore becoming an Abbey, it was built as originally built by Mitchell Henry in 1867 as a romantic gift for his beloved wife.
The Castle covered approximately 40,000 square feet with over 70 rooms and the principal wall was two to three feet thick. The facade measured 142 feet (43 m) in length and is made of granite brought from Dalkey by sea to Letterfrack and limestone from Ballinasloe.
In 1920, Kylemore became an Abbey and is the oldest of the Irish Benedictine Abbeys. The Benedictine Order of nuns, have resided here for 189 years.
The nuns opened an international boarding school and established a day school for local girls, which closed in June 2010. Since the 70’s, the Benedictine Community have opened their Abbey and Estate to the public and now Kylemore has become known as a must see when visiting the West of Ireland.
The dramatic landscape, iconic image of the castle reflected in the lake, former girl’s boarding school and history has made Kylemore Abbey famous around the world and it is the largest tourist attraction in the west of Ireland.
You are invited by the Benedictine nuns to experience the Victorian atmosphere of the restored rooms of the abbey, miniature gothic church, head gardener’s house and garden boy’s house.
Explore the many nature trails and woodland walks. Discover the magical award winning 6 acre Victorian walled garden where uniquely, only Victorian varieties of flowers and vegetables are grown.
Mitchell’s café and the tea house offers home cooked food made to recipes perfected by the Benedictine nuns and using fresh vegetables and herbs from the walled garden and the craft shop has a wide selection of design focused Irish giftware including artisan food products, knitwear, pottery, art and products made by the Benedictine nuns at Kylemore
Visitors are invited to enter the Abbey where four rooms have been sympathetically restored. Visitors can experience the character and atmosphere of the castle and enjoy the breathtaking views the large picture windows which capture and frame the majestic landscape.
The name Kylemore originates from the Irish words Coill Mhór – meaning Great Wood.
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