Kylemore Abbey is a Benedictine monastery founded in 1920. The Abbey is located on the grounds of Kylemore Castle in Connemara, County Galway. The abbey was founded for Benedictine Nuns who fled Belgium during World War I.
Construction of Kylemore castle first began in 1867, and took one hundred men four years to complete. The castle covered approximately 40,000 square feet (3,700 m2) with over 70 rooms and the principal wall was two to three feet thick.
There were 33 bedrooms, 4 bathrooms, 4 sitting rooms, ballroom, billiard room, library, study, school room, smoking room, gun room and various offices and domestic staff residences for the butler, cook, housekeeper and other servants. Several other building including a Gothic cathedral and family mausoleum containing the bodies of Margaret Henry, Mitchell Henry and a great grand nephew.
In 1920 the Irish Benedictine Nuns purchased the Abbey castle and lands after they were forced to flee Belgium during World War I.
The Estate includes large walled Victorian Gardens, which have been open since the 1970’s, to public tours and ‘nature’ walks. The Benedictine community have restored the Abbey’s gardens and Cathedral with donations and local artisans, in order to be a self-sustaining estate.
Day tours to this fascinating attraction are available from the Hostels Reception, and depart from right outside the front door of Kinlay House Hostel.