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Visiting Kylemore Abbey in Connemara, Ireland

Kylemore Abbey, Connemara, Ireland

The serenity of Kylemore Abbey has made it the largest tourist attraction in the west of Ireland. This Victorian castle was a labor of love and remains one of my favorite castles.

History of Kylemore Abbey: A Castle Built on Love

Kylemore Abbey, Connemara, Ireland

The story of Kylemore Abbey is a love story. Mitchell and Margaret Henry of Manchester, England honeymooned in Connemara and found it so lovely that when Mitchell inherited his father’s fortune, he bought the land of a hunting lodge they’d seen on their travels and built Kylemore Castle for Margaret.

The castle was designed by Irish architect James Franklin Fuller, and construction began on the Henry’s new home in 1867.

It was a Victorian splendor with 33 bedrooms, 4 bathrooms, 4 sitting rooms, a ballroom, billiard room, library, study, school room, smoking room, gun room, offices, domestic staff residences, gardens, walks, and woodlands covering 13,000 acres of land and costing a little over £18,000.

Kylemore Abbey, Ireland

The name “Kylemore” comes from the Irish An Choill Mhór meaning The Big Wood.

It was a fairy tale castle. But in 1874, on a holiday trip to Egypt, Margaret became ill and died. Mitchell laid her to rest in a red brick mausoleum in the woodlands of Kylemore. In 1878, he began building the neo-Gothic Church on the grounds as a lasting testament to his wife.

Touring Kylemore Abbey

Kylemore Abbey, Connemara, Ireland

When you tour Kylemore Abbey, you have access to the ground floor, including the oak paneled entry hall, the drawing room (a favorite of Margaret’s), the women’s morning room set up with artefacts of the Benedictine Community, and dining room set up as if expecting dinner guests. Another room holds an exhibit about when Kylemore Abbey was a girls’ school.

The rest of the Abbey is part of the Benedictine Nuns’ private residence. After being forced to flee Ypres, Belgium during World War I, the nuns purchased the castle lands in 1920. They educate Catholic girls and run the Abbey as an international boarding school.

Gothic Cathedral at Kylemore Abbey, Connemara, Ireland

Around the grounds, you have access to the beautiful Gothic church, the mausoleum, and the the walled gardens where the family grew exotic fruits and vegetables to be served at lavish dinner parties.

Gardens at Kylemore Abbey, Connemara, Ireland

Kylemore Abbey is by far one of my favorite castles. Its idyllic setting lends itself to its romantic past, and the wild Connemara wilderness dreams up fairies and the best of Ireland’s myths and legends.

Visiting Kylemore Abbey

Kylemore Abbey, Connemara, Ireland

The opening hours for the castle depends on the season. You can see general opening times below:

  • November through early March: 9:30 a.m. — 4:30 p.m.
  • Early March through July: 10 a.m. — 6 p.m.
  • July through August: 9 a.m. — 7 p.m.
  • September through October: 9:30 a.m. — 5:30 p.m.

Last admission is one hour before closing. Please check their website for updated opening hours.

Admission for Kylemore Abbey costs €16 for adults, €13.50 for students and seniors, €8 for children ages 13-15, and free for children under 12.

Your admission gives you access to the entire estate: the ground floor of the Abbey, the Neo-Gothic Church and any events that are happening there that day, the Mausoleum, the Woodland and Lakeshore Walks, and the Victorian Walled Garden, including a shuttle to and from the Abbey as well as the garden tours in the summer (June-August).

Castle Count: 13

Read next: 10 Breathtaking Day Trips from Galway, Ireland

Ready to visit Kylemore Abbey in Connemara, Ireland? Plan your trip with these tips.



Visiting Kylemore Abbey in Connemara, Ireland

Have you visited Kylemore Abbey? Let me know about your visit in the comments!

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  1. Very pretty! I regret not going to the Irish countryside during my long weekend in Dublin. But now I have something for my next trip! 🙂

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