If ever visiting Ireland is on your list, make sure to visit this majestic Kylemore Abbey and Victorian Walled Garden located in Connemara, County Galway.
The breathtaking view and the Gothic architecture of the abbey made it one of the most popular tourist attraction in the west of Ireland. If you’re driving from Galway City, it is only an hour away and you will already be fascinated on the sceneries you will see on the way there.
And this is the view that will greet you once you are nearly there.
The Kylemore Abbey is home of the Benedictine nuns since 1920 but it is open to the public all year round. The ticket costs €13 Adults, €10 Seniors, €9 Students and children under 10 are free. The entire estate has an area of 1000 acre so aside from the castle it has a walled garden, Gothic church, family mausoleum, restaurant, craft shop and a picnic area.
The castle was originally built as a private home of the family of a wealthy doctor from London, Mitchell Henry. The building began in 1867 and it took 4 years to be completed by 100 men.
The castle was designed by James Franklin Fuller and the frontage is built from granite and limestone. There are only few parts of the building which is open to the public since it is still a monastery.
In 1874, Mitchell Henry and his wife Margaret were on a holiday in Egypt but she was contracted with dysentery and she died after 16 days. Her body was laid in a mausoleum in the estate which few decades later also became the final resting place of Mitchell Henry.
To prove Henry’s undying love for his late wife, he decided to built a mini-Gothic church near the mausoleum.
In 1903, the castle was sold to the Duke and Duchess of Manchester and later was sold due to gambling debts. In 1920, the castle and grounds were sold to the Benedictine nuns who fled from Belgium during the World War I. The nuns restored the place to its glory and it became an international boarding school for Catholic girls until 2010.
The Victorian Walled Garden was built during the construction of the castle in 1867. The garden provided the basic necessities for the Henry family but it was neglected under the Duke and Duchess of Manchester’s possession. the Benedictine nuns tried to restore the beauty of the garden then later became open to the public.
You will appreciate the beauty of the place during a warm sunny weather since Ireland is known for its rainy days. So make sure to visit the place during Spring or Summer time.