Kylemore Abbey, Connemara

kylemore abbey

Popular with tourists from around the world, the magnificent Kylemore Abbey is a lakeside castle built in the Gothic Revival style. It was built by Mitchell Henry, a Manchester tycoon and Galway MP, for his wife and work began in 1867 and took four years to complete. In the 1920s it was bought by Benedictine nuns fleeing from persecution in Belgium and was run as a school for girls that closed in 2010. It is now best known for the restored interior of the castle and the Victorian walled garden that is a fine example of the style and well maintained. The walled garden is a long way from the main buildings and there is a courtesy bus that takes you to and fro and was a blessing when I visited because of the torrential rain. I would guess that it is about a mile and a decent walk but a beautiful one on a better day.

Admission is a fairly steep €13 but you do get access to the castle and the gardens and you could easily spend half a day here – more if the weather is nice. There is also a good, large cafeteria and huge gift shop. Despite the weather there must have been 20 coaches in the coach park and everywhere under cover was packed – the garden less so!

kylemore ab

Entering the walled garden. It slopes down to the centre and is divided into the ornamental part (seen here) and the kitchen garden (to the left of this view) with its long double herbaceous border running through it

Entering the walled garden. It slopes down to the centre and is divided into the ornamental part (seen here) and the kitchen garden (to the left of this view) with its long double herbaceous border running through it

The sloping lawns are embroidered with sinuous beds

The sloping lawns are embroidered with sinuous beds

Good to see the bedding was in Wexford's colours!

Good to see the bedding was in Wexford’s colours!

The garden was very Victorian in style with its formal beds - note the moat  (I mean paths)

The garden was very Victorian in style with its formal beds – note the moat (I mean paths)

Did I mention the rain?

Did I mention the rain?

Was the gardener psychic when they chose moisture-loving Mimulus cardinalis for these beds?

Was the gardener psychic when they chose moisture-loving Mimulus cardinalis for these beds?

Possibly not because these poor nasturtiums will not be happy in this pond!

Possibly not because these poor nasturtiums will not be happy in this pond!

The Head Gardener's cottage is at the top of the garden and open to the public

The Head Gardener’s cottage is at the top of the garden and open to the public

The interior looked very comfortable and cosy

The interior looked very comfortable and cosy

There is a shady fern walk in the centre of the garden

There is a shady fern walk in the centre of the garden – that is supposed to be a stream, for once

The double herbaceous border is reputed to be the longest in Ireland

From there the formal path suns through the ornamental garden

The double herbaceous border is reputed to be the longest in Ireland

The double herbaceous border is reputed to be the longest in Ireland

It was wet here too

It was wet here too

And there was a huge kitchen garden with veg and fruit in beds in the lawns

And there was a huge kitchen garden with veg and fruit in beds in the lawns

And there is a Gothic cathedral in the grounds too, on the other side of the Abbey

And there is a Gothic cathedral in the grounds too, on the other side of the Abbey

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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9 Comments on “Kylemore Abbey, Connemara”

  1. derrickjknight
    September 17, 2015 at 7:49 am #

    Another attractive tour, despite the rain, which, with those pics, you didn’t need to mention. 🙂

  2. digwithdorris
    September 17, 2015 at 7:57 am #

    The rain ! It’s getting everywhere here too. I would rather like to have one of those gardeners cottages.

    • thebikinggardener
      September 17, 2015 at 5:29 pm #

      I know – it was beautiful. And the fact that there was a fire and the smoke was drifting out of the chimney made it all seem more beautiful and surreal – that and the paths that had turned to moats

  3. joy
    September 17, 2015 at 8:00 am #

    there are always the brave even if the weather is bad . and I enjoyed the tour thank you

    • thebikinggardener
      September 17, 2015 at 5:28 pm #

      Well having travelled so far it would have been wrong not to actually see the garden. Shame about the weather but it was still impressive

  4. susurrus
    September 17, 2015 at 9:32 am #

    You make it seem an enchanting place in any weather. I hope your camera is waterproof! Mine isn’t so I had to beat a hasty retreat from one of my favourite gardens this summer.

    • thebikinggardener
      September 17, 2015 at 5:27 pm #

      thank you! No the camera is not waterproof so I had my coat open to protect it and had to snap photos quickly!

  5. Meriel
    September 21, 2015 at 1:23 am #

    Oh dear, an extremely soft Irish day then! Kylemore has certainly been hugely developed since I was There years ago. I’m afraid that neither the Gothic building or the Victorian style of gardening is my cup of tea though the fernery looked lovely. Gorgeous location though. Not on my list to see. Lismore at the top though! I hadn’t heard about it previously.

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