Kylemore Abbey & Neo-Gothic Church
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Kylemore Abbey, Connemara, Kylemore, Galway, Republic of Ireland
Ms Bríd Connell
Kylemore Abbey Neo-Gothic Church was built in the style of a fourteenth-century English Cathedral in memory of the wife of Mitchell Henry, who owned the neighbouring Kylemore Abbey / Castle.
For more than a century, Kylemore has been the quintessential romantic nineteenth-century Irish castle overlooking a lake in the West of Ireland.
Its fairy-tale history started appropriately with a honeymoon in 1849, when Mitchell Henry, the son of a wealthy Manchester cotton merchant, married Margaret Vaughan and visited a Connemara that was just beginning to recover from the devastating effects of the potato famine a few years earlier. He was captivated by the scenery, and promised to build his wife a Gothic castle there, which he did in the years 1867-71.
The happy days he spent here with his wife and children came to an abrupt end with her death in 1874, He then commissioned a lovely neo-Gothic church in her in the style of a fourteenth-century English Cathedral, which can be reached along a leafy walk to the east of the castle. Now home to the Benedictine nuns since 1920, the castle took on its present title of Abbey. Here the community work and pray in their own private part of the building. The Benedictine nuns invite visitors to experience the Victorian atmosphere of the Abbey's restored rooms, miniature gothic church, head gardener’s house and garden boy’s house. Learn of the tales of tragedy and romance, the engineering initiatives, model farms, royal visits and the Abbey's former role as a girls boarding school.
Kylemore’s many nature trails, woodland walks and the magical award-winning walled garden offer a wonderland to explore. Discover the Victorian heritage of the walled garden, where only flower and vegetable varieties from that era are grown. Enjoy refreshing walks and scenic views as every season has something different to offer at Kylemore.
Mitchell’s café and the tea house offers home-cooked food made from recipes perfected by the Benedictine nuns and using fresh vegetables and herbs from the walled garden.
The craft shop has a wide selection of design-focused Irish giftware including artisan food products, knitwear, pottery, art and handcrafts made by the Benedictine nuns at Kylemore.
Choirs travel from around the world to Kylemore Abbey to sing in the Gothic church with its superb acoustics. All are welcome to attend the choral performances and admittance is included in the Kylemore entry fee.