Kylemore Abbey

Trip Start Jan 09, 2012
Trip End Jul 14, 2012

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Flag of Ireland  , Connaught,
Sunday, April 15, 2012

After a first excursion to Clifden with my friend Guillaume, we decided to go to another part of the Connemara to visit Kylemore Abbey. Kylemore Abbey is a beautiful castle located in the heart of Connemara. We wanted to go there because we realized that it was a famous spot to visit around Galway as there was some posters advertising it inside the Galway coach station and some friends told us that it was really a spot to visit. The day before the visit, on the spur of the moment as we seen the weather announced was good, we booked a bus tour for Kylemore Abbey and Connemara. The Internet booking allowed us to have a good price of 15 euros per person, better than renting a car (because in Ireland, there is a fee per day for people under 26 years old – and by the way if you are under 23, you cannot rent any car in most car rentals).

I advise this company (Lally Coaches) as in addition to the low price, the commentaries of the driver during all the journey were really interesting. We were in April so it was not so touristic and we were not in a big bus (we were maybe 15 people on the bus) but the guy was from the area and he was so passionate so that also really give us the feeling that it was not a touristic tour. I don't use to take any guided tour as I prefer do everything by myself but here the price was interesting and we learned a lot thanks to this guy. He explained us about the turf for example or the Gaeltacht area of Connemara, he was able to tell us stories about all the small villages and places we pass through. Moreover, it was not so guided because the bus let us at Kylemore Abbey and we were totally free during 2 hours to visit it as we wanted.

The day of this visit was a Sunday and the bus was supposed to leave Galway at 10am so I decided to do a quiet night before (not going out after 2am). At the beginning, we took the same road as when we took the bus to Clifden but we turned right approximately 20 km before Clifden to reach Kylemore which is located close to the village of Letterfrack. Kylemore Abbey was built in the XIX century by an English politician who was Member of Parliament for County Galway and who married an Irish. He fall in love of this area during his honey moon and decided to build this castle and to live there. Later on, his wife died from a disease and he choose to build a church (gothic style) and a mausoleum. The castle became at the beginning of the XX century a Benedictine Monastery.

All Kylemore Abbey site is gorgeous and it was much more beautiful when we went there because of the sunny weather. Like everything in Connemara, you can really appreciate the beauty of Kylemore Abbey spot when the weather is good. All the castle is surrounded by the mountains and by Kylemore lake. Kylemore site is huge and there is also a Victorian garden accessible via mini bus that you can take in front of the abbey. All the outside of the Abbey and the park is gorgeous, but I did not find the inside of the castle very beautiful and interesting. In addition, it was disappointing as there was not a lot of rooms available for visit (maybe because of the period but not sure). Nevertheless, the church is nice to visit and you can admire some Irish marble (green marble of Connemara, red marble of Cork, dark marble of Kilkenny). After the visit, we came back to Galway via Leenane, Maam Cross and Spiddal (with always the interesting commentaries of the driver).

To conclude I would say that, except the inside of the Castle, Kylemore spot is gorgeous and you really enjoy it when the weather is sunny. 
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