From The West of Ireland
    Go to Castlebar | Photo Gallery | Castlebar Directory | Nostalgia Board
Photography : Frank Cawley Last Updated: 2, Apr 2018 - 10:02

Kylemore Abbey
By Frank Cawley
28, Aug 2004 - 16:04

Email this article
 Printer friendly page

Kylemore Abbey's greatest attraction is its location. Nestled at the base of Duchruach Mountain [1736ft] on the northern shore of Lough Pollacappul, in the heart of the Connemara mountains, it is regarded as one of Ireland's most romantic buildings.

Kylemore Abbey on the Galway Mayo border

Today the Abbey is the monastic home of the Irish Benedictine Nuns and a renowned international girls' boarding school. However, it was built in the 1860's as a country seat for Mitchell Henry, the son of a wealthy Manchester merchant. Tradition tells us that Mitchell Henry, a surgeon practising in London, first visited Connemara while on his honeymoon in 1849.

Mitchell Henry's young bride, Margaret Vaughan, was charmed by Connemara and the picturesque location of Kylemore Lodge, a shooting lodge which stood on the spot now occupied by the Abbey. The couple are said to have made the decision, there and then, to someday build a home there.

This dream was made possible when, in 1862, Mitchell's father died and on receipt of a sizeable inheritance he abandoned his medical career and became Chairman of the family textile firm, A & S Henry. However, business interests seem to have occupied very little of his time and instead he concentrated his attention on getting elected to Parliament and in the construction of two family homes, one at Kylemore, the other in London.

In 1866 he finally secured the purchase of Kylemore Lodge and 13,000 acres of mountains, rivers, lakes and bog, with extensive fishing and shooting rights. Almost immediately work began converting the Lodge into a Castle.

The Lodge continued to be occupied while excavation for the Castle's foundations was underway. To the rear of the building the builder cut deep into Duchruach mountain to make room for the servants quarters. As the Castle began to rise up around the Lodge, the walls of the old house were taken down and it was incorporated into the new building.

In keeping with the fashion of the day, an extensive walled garden was under construction at the same time as the castle. The barren Connemara boglands to the west of the Castle were transformed into what was recognised at the time as Ireland's most impressive walled garden. The 6-acre garden contained a 21 glasshouse complex, flower garden and kitchen garden separated by a serpentine mountain stream, head gardener’s house, workers’ bothy and lime kiln. At the same time hundreds of thousands of exotic and native trees were planted throughout the demesne.

© Copyright 2004 by © Contributor(s) and Castlebar Web Pages 1997 - 2018

.. Top of Page

Frank Cawley
Latest Headlines
Christmas Day 2017
Shane Lost We Need a LYFT
Something Very Unusual Happened in Castlebar in August 2017
Castlebar at Night
Merry New Year From the Top of Castlebar
Fly By for Mayo Team
Christmas Day Swim 2015
Christmas Day Cathair na Mart
GlasBhealach Mór an Iarthair
Castlebar Christmas Day 2014
Grey Green Way
Annual Christmas Wash 2013
Winter Woodland Walk, Raheens
I'll take you down to China Town
Harry Clarke Sequel - Newport Judgement Day
Wearin of the Green
Are you right there Michael? Western Rail Corridor
Sunday Morning Footpath
Arrah Here Clare
Will you meet me on Clare Island?
Bridge on the River Moy
Rise Up Willie Joe
The Windy Gap
A Festive Snap
An Deatach Mór
You can take the man out of Belmullet
An Oilean Briste "a Broken Island"
How to Make a Sandwich with your Feet
Spirit of Place. Carrowteige 54° North 9° West.
Get on your Bike!
The Christmas Day Swim: Lough Lannagh
An Puc ar Buile!
Paddy Curran RIP
Southern Exposure
Mulranney New years Eve 2007
Some Festive Pictures
Long legged Italy
New England Fall 2007
Blessed be the Holy
Things to do in Ballinrobe when it's raining
March Marine Madness
Castlebar Christmas Day Swim Lough Lannagh 2006
Drombeg Stone Circle.
One Lucky Salmon
The Galway Races
Castlecarra Lough Carra April 2006
The Boston St Patrick's Day Parade
Some Small Black & White
Vast improvements in Charlestown
New England Fall aka Autumn
Annagh Bay
Have you ever been to Inishbofin Island?
Burrishule Abbey Turlough Round Tower
Eighteen Turns at Fota House
I V League
Some pictures from South West Mayo
St Patricks Festival in the City of Culture
This is Castlebar in 2005
New Year Fireworks
East and West
Autumn in Mulranney
Kylemore Abbey
Tory Island
These boys are heading off soon.....
From Mayo to Kerry - Newport to Sneem
Identify this Flower
Some images from Garnish Island Bantry Bay
Bring on the Clowns
Clare Island Easter 2004
The Rock of Cashel
Winter Sunrise
Jeanie Johnston in Cork
Winter In the West
The Kings Head
Photo Exhibition in Westport this weekend
Is this a moth or a butterfly
Lost in Kilkenny
Wheres your head at ??
From Nephin to Kerry
Mid Winter Sunshine
The Calm after a Storm
Swan Lake
Foxford Fair
Saleen Lake and other Mayo Scenes
Some Mayo Scenes