Kylemore Abbey Things to Do
Along the N59 road about 12-15km north of Clifden we have one of the most scenic castles and buildings in Ireland. Kylemore Abbey built by Sir Mitchell Henry. Sir Mitchell Henry was raised in Manchester England who was Minister of Parliament for Galway during the 19th Century. Sir Mitchell Henry was also a Landlord and an Estate owner. It was the lands at Kylemore in Connemara where he decided that he would build an abbey for his wife and family during the late 1800’s. Sir Mitchell Henry bought the estate and land at Kylemore (Renvyle). It was envisaged that the Abbey would take over four years to construct.
The Neo Gothic Church is located to the North and East of the main Abbey and was built at the same time when the main Abbey was being constructed. Sir Mitchell Henry’s wife subsequently died at an early age from a fever caught in Egypt while holidaying. It was during the aftermath of Sir Mitchells Henry’s wife’s death where Sir Mitchell Henry decided to sell off the Kylemore Abbey and Estate. The walled Garden was constructed during the late 19th Century built in traditional red brick and granite design architecture. During the early 20th the Benedictine nuns order purchased the abbey, gothic church and gardens from Sir Mitchell Henry. The Benedictine nuns also built a school c.1918-20 just adjacent of the main abbey to the eastside to accommodate an only girls Boarding School. The design and brickwork was of similar architecture of the main abbey and was 2 storeys tall.
In 2010 due to low participation attendances in subsequent years prior to 2010 it was decided to close the boarding school for good. In 2015/16 the former Boarding School building will now be host to an Erasmus third level Irish culture course with partnership with Notre Dame University in the US. The Benedictine nuns had an important role in the Abbey as they maintained the working order of both the abbey and gardens where they were self sufficient in gardening, cooking, education and general maintenance alongside of the Abbey and gothic church being a place of worship and prayer throughout their duties. Presently the Benedictine nuns have mostly retired from duties and only a handful of the nuns are in permanent residence. Today Kylemore Abbey is a world famous tourist attractions where the Abbey and Gothic Church is open to the public to view the protected rooms and hallways which are a protected structure under the national inventory architectural management.
The Victorian walled gardens host shuttle bus tours from the main visitor centre at the grounds of the abbey, where visitors can enjoy walks throughout the Kylemore Site. Kylemore Abbey is open throughout the whole year and opening hours varies throughout the year. Car parking is free of charge beside the visitor centre but there is an admission charge of €12-15 to tour the Abbey, gardens and Neo Lithic chapel.