Kylemore Abbey

Kylemore Abbey


Location: County Galway Map

Tel. 095 41146

Open: daily

Closed: Christmas, Good Friday

Official site


Kylemore Abbey is one of the most picturesque monasteries located in County Galway in Ireland. This Benedictine monastery was constructed in 1920 on the grounds of the former Kylemore Castle.



The monastery was founded in 1665 in Ypres (today Belgium). It should offer a religious community to Irish women when still strict anti-Catholic laws were in force in Ireland. In 1682, the Benedictine order moved to Ireland. On the orders of King Jacob II, the nuns had to move to Dublin in 1688. In 1690, they returned to Ypres. The community eventually left Ypres when the abbey there was destroyed in World War I. First they fled to England, then to Wexford County, until they finally settled in Kylemore Castle in December 1920 to devote themselves to monastic life. In September 1923, the nuns in Kylemore opened an international boarding school and a day school for local girls. In the 1980s, 80 boarding school students and 120 day school students were in Kylemore. The students came primarily from the European mainland, but also from the USA, Asia, and the County of Galway. In the 1930s, two Indian princesses, nieces of the Maharaja Ranjit, visited the boarding school. The school was closed in June 2010. The number of pupils was constantly declining, fewer and fewer nuns worked as teachers, and the building was no longer safe and no longer suitable for a modern school. The nuns originally also operated a small Pension, which was closed after a destructive fire in 1959. In addition to the buildings mentioned, there is also a small farm with an Associated farmhouse about 200 m further away.


History of the building
The castle and the Victorian walled garden of Kylemore was built by the industrialist and politician Mitchell Henry (1826-1910) and his wife Margaret Henry (1829-1874). The architects of the castle, James Franklin Fuller and Ussher Roberts were. The construction lasted four years, from 1867 to 1871. The Henrys had nine children. During a holiday in Egypt, fell ill, Margaret Henry of dysentery and died within a few days on 4. December 1874. She was brought to Kylemore and the for they built the Mausoleum. Mitchell, Henry on 22. On November 11, 1910, his ashes, here, on the side of his wife, were buried. Between 1877 and 1881 Mitchell Henry built a gothic church to commemorate his wife. In July 1903 the English king Edward VII, accompanied by his daughter Princess Victoria was to visit in Kylemore. There were rumors that the king wanted to buy the castle and use it as a royal residence, but it was probably too expensive for him. On 22 September 1903 Mitchell Henry sold the castle and the estates to the Duke of Manchester and the Duchess for £ 63,000. The purchase was largely financed by his father-in-law, the oil baron Eugene Zimmermann. When he died in 1914, London banker and real estate agent Ernest Fawke acquired the property, which had it managed until a new buyer was found. In 1920, the Benedictine monastery acquired the castle and 405 hectares of Land for just over 45,000 pounds.