Kylemore Abbey is a fairy tale castle located in the Connemara region of West Ireland in County Galway. Admission to the abbey and grounds is a bit expensive - €13 for an adult. We visited as part of the Connemara and Cong Tour with Galway Tour Company and got a discounted admission of €8. Despite the price, the abbey and grounds were beautiful and it was worth admission cost. Kylemore Castle was constructed by Mitchell Henry from 1867 to 1871. He and his wife Margaret had visited on their honeymoon and loved the beautiful landscape, wanting to build a home there. In 1903, Henry sold the estate to the Duke and Duchess of Manchester and it began to fall into disrepair. The Benedictine Nuns bought the property in 1920 and converted the castle into an abbey as it is today. The nuns still use the abbey so only a few rooms are open to tour. The interior of the abbey is quite beautiful, but the exterior is among the most beautiful sights in all of Ireland. It's truly a fairy tale castle, set amid the beautiful settings with the calm waters of Pollacappul Lake in front of the abbey with rhododendron-covered mountains behind it. We visited in June when the rhododendrons were blooming and the hills were covered in gorgeous pink flowers.
The Victorian Walled Garden is 6-acre garden on the grounds of Kylemore Abbey. The garden is exquisite - perfectly manicured in a beautiful setting of the Connemara mountains. We visited in June when the rhododendron were blooming and the setting was breathtaking. It's about 1 km from the entrance to the abbey to the garden and a shuttle is available if you don't want to make the pleasant walk. The garden was built by Mitchell Henry at the same time as the construction of the castle in the 19th century. After he sold the estate, it fell into disrepair and the Benedictine Nuns worked to restore the gardens in 1990s. The garden is divided roughly in half by a stream flowing down from the mountains. The eastern half is the flower garden and the western half is primarily a kitchen garden to grow food. I had a great time walking around the garden and it's not to be missed when visiting Kylemore.
There are a couple other points of interest to see when visiting Kylemore. The Gothic Church is a small cathedral on the grounds of Kylemore Abbey, just a short walk past the abbey itself. The church was built by Mitchell Henry as a beautiful memorial for his wife Margaret who died of dysentery while on vacation in Egypt. Not wanting her buried in a foreign land, she was embalmed and returned to Kylemore. Beautiful on the inside and out, visitors are allowed to tour the small cathedral and take pictures. However, the church is not the final resting place of Mrs. Henry. A short walk past the church leads to the mausoleum where Mr. and Mrs. Henry are buried. Another interesting spot near the mausoleum is the ironing stone, a giant stone shaped like an iron sticking out of the ground. According to legend, wishes are granted to those who can stand with their backs to the rock and successfully throw a pebble over it.
This review is the subjective opinion of a TravelPod member and not of TravelPod.com.