Kylemore Abbey and Victorian Walled Garden, just one hour from Galway is one of Ireland’s top tourist attractions. Kylemore Castle was built in the late 1800s by Mitchell Henry MP, a wealthy business man and liberal politician. Inspired by his love for his wife Margaret, and his hopes for his beloved Ireland, Henry created an estate boasting ‘all the innovations of the modern age’. An enlightened landlord and vocal advocate of the Irish people, Henry poured his life’s energy into creating an estate that would showcase what could be achieved in the remote wilds of Connemara. Today Kylemore Abbey is owned and run by the Benedictine community who have been in residence here since 1920.

Come to Kylemore and experience woodland and lake shore walks, magnificent buildings and Ireland’s largest Walled Garden! Enjoy wholesome food and delicious home-baking in our Café or Garden Tea House. History talks take place three times a day in the Abbey and tours of the Walled Garden take place throughout the summer. Browse our Craft and Design Shop for unique gifts including Kylemore Abbey Pottery and award winning chocolates handmade by the Benedictine nuns. Discover the beauty, history and romance of Ireland’s most intriguing estate in the heart of the Connemara countryside.

The story of Kylemore – both Castle and Abbey – is a truly remarkable one. The twists of fate which its occupants experienced, from moments of romance and happiness, to sadness and courage have all combined to create a fascinating history spanning over 150 years.

Kylemore is home to a community of nuns of the Benedictine Order who came here in 1920 after their abbey in Ypres, Belgium was destroyed in World War I. Settling at Kylemore, the Benedictine Community opened a world renowned boarding school for girls and began restoring the Abbey, Gothic Church and Victorian Walled Garden to their former glory.

Kylemore Abbey & Victorian Walled Garden welcomes visitors to discover the magic, beauty and peacefulness of Kylemore Abbey. Visit Kylemore Abbey and discover what makes Kylemore the no.1 must-see attraction in Connemara and the west of Ireland.

The remainder of the Abbey is part of the nuns’ private enclosure and education rooms. Feel free to light a candle at the small shrine dedicated to Our Lady in the Front Hall. A book of prayer requests is also located here where you can ask the Benedictine sisters to pray on your behalf.

Complementary History Talks take place three times a day throughout the year, at 11.30am, 1.00pm and 3.00pm. Let our guides bring the story of Kylemore to life with the story of the Abbey’s beginnings in the 1840’s as a romantic gift to becoming home to the Benedictine Community in 1920. Our Audio Visual presentation brings the story of Kylemore to life and begins every fifteen minutes in the former Library, on the left hand side as you enter the Abbey. A presentation in French takes place at quarter to the hour and the German version plays at quarter past the hour.

The Benedictine Nuns remain in residence at Kylemore and as Directors of the Kylemore Trust, they are very much part of the fabric of today’s Kylemore, indeed its spiritual heart. They continue with their daily life of work and prayer according to the ancient Rule of St. Benedict. They run their farm on the estate, make handcrafted products and offer a space for monastic retreats.

Visit the restored rooms of the Abbey to step back in time and learn about the lives of those who lived, worked and prayed in this beautiful building.

The Victorian Walled Garden is an oasis of ordered splendor in the wild Connemara Countryside. Developed along with the Castle in the late 1800s it once boasted 21 heated glass houses and a work force of 40 gardeners. One of the last walled gardens built during the Victorian period in Ireland it was so advanced for the time that it was compared in magnificence with Kew Gardens in London.

As the years passed, the garden fell into decline and became completely overgrown, with brambles and trees hiding all traces of its former glory. The Benedictine nuns began an extensive programme of restoration in 1995 and in the year 2000 the Garden was opened to the public. The Garden restoration project won the prestigious Europa Nostra Award in 2001 and now attracts garden lovers from all over the world.

Comprising of roughly 6 acres, the Garden is divided in two by a beautiful mountain stream. The eastern half includes the formal flower garden, glass houses the head gardener’s house and the garden both. The western part of the garden includes the vegetable garden, herbaceous border, fruit trees, a rockery and herb garden. Leaving the Garden by the West Gate you can visit the plantation of young oak trees, waiting to be replanted around the estate. The Garden also contains a shaded fernery, an important feature of any Victorian Garden. Follow our self-guiding panels through the garden and learn more about its intriguing history.

Today Kylemore is a Heritage Garden heritage displaying only plant varieties from the Victorian era. The bedding is changed twice a year, for spring and summer and its colours change throughout the year. Be sure to visit them and fall in love with a garden that is surely the jewel in Connemara’s Crown.

Just a five minute walk along the shores of Lough Pollacapull lies Kylemore’s enchanting neo-Gothic Church. Described as a ‘Cathedral in Miniature’ this elegant building is a lasting testament to the love of Mitchell Henry for his wife Margaret. On your visit you may be lucky enough to enjoy one of the many musical performances that take place here throughout the year.

Tucked away a quiet spot along the avenue is the Mausoleum of Mitchell and Margaret Henry. This simple brick building is a modest resting place with an aura of peace and serenity. When Margaret died on a family holiday to Egypt in 1874, her body was embalmed in preparation for the return journey to Ireland. Local folklore tells that her beautifully preserved remains were placed in a glass coffin in the staircase hall supposedly with her hands placed serenely beneath her cheeks. In time Margaret’s remains were placed in the little mausoleum in the woods where in 1910 following his death in London her great love Mitchell Henry was also interred. Although the beautiful neo-Gothic Church was completed in 1881 no member of the Henry family was ever placed in its vaults. Today you can visit the Mausoleum which is located just after the neo-Gothic Church on the left hand side of the avenue.

Hear the story from the Abbey’s beginnings in the 1840’s as a romantic gift to becoming home to the Benedictine Community in 1920. Rooms open to the public include the: audio visual room, entrance hall, inner hall, drawing room, middle room and dining room.

The remainder of the Abbey is part of the nuns’ private enclosure and education rooms. Sadly, an accidental fire destroyed much of the Abbey’s interiors in 1959. The Benedictine Community restored 5 rooms to their original Victorian style. Much of the furniture and all fireplaces, wooden floors, oak paneling, etc. are original. Hearing the stories from our guide, one can easily image life at Kylemore Abbey in the 1800s onwards.