We arrived to Galway (our last leg of the trip) after spending the day at the Cliffs of Moher & the Burren. The following morning we headed out early for a drive through Connemara National Park to Kylemore Abbey.
Up until this point on our road trip, the weather had been extremely generous to us. We saw the sun quite a bit, and even when it did start to drizzle, we were either driving or in a pub grabbing dinner. It was only fitting that our last full day in Ireland we were treated to some true Irish weather! It rained the entire day, but we made the most of it nonetheless. (After all, we had come prepared for rain).
Kylemore was built in 1868 as a private home for the family of Mitchell Henry, a wealthy doctor from London. He and his wife fell in love with this area on their honeymoon. It was originally called Kylemore Castle. There are over 70 rooms in Kylemore and it took about 4 years to finish. In 1903, the Castle came under the ownership of the Duke and Duchess of Manchester. After owning the land for 17 years, the Duke & Duchess were forced to sell due to debt. A group of benedictine nuns, who were fleeing from Belgium in WWI purchased it in 1920. The name then changed to Kylemore Abbey.
The nuns opened up an all girls boarding school to begin educating local and international women alike. Kylemore Abbey served as a school until 2010, when it was no longer able to function as an educational institute.
Today, Kylemore Abbey can be visited to explore its restored period rooms and exhibitions explaining its history of Royalty and education. It sits on a 1,000 acres, filled with its own Church, gardens and walking paths.
Kylemore Abbey is open everyday from 10am – 4pm. You can get a slight discount if you pre-order your tickets online. It costs around 15 euros to enter the estate and tour the grounds. For more information on tickets, check out the link here: Kylemore Abbey Tickets.
After touring the inside of Kylemore Abbey, we walked 10 minutes down the path to see the Neo-Gothic church and mausoleum where Mitchell Henry & his wife Margaret are buried.
Once we made our way back to the Abbey, we hopped on the bus that would take us out to see the Victorian Walled Garden. The bus ride is free (included in the cost of your ticket) and seems to run laps every 15-30 minutes. Since it was raining, we opted for the bus, but you can also walk along the path to the gardens. We did not spend a lot of time there but it would be a lovely area stroll more of the grounds on a drier day!
After a busy morning of touring Kylemore Abbey, we headed back to Galway. The drive is incredibly scenic and takes about 1.5 hours. You wind through Connemara National Park, which is filled with mountains and forests – a slightly different landscape than ones we had seen previously!
Stay tuned for our post about Galway!