The Kylemore Abbey in the Connemara region of Ireland was originally built in the 1860’s as a private home for Mitchell Henry. It was sold to the Duke & Duchess of Manchester in 1903 who owned it until it was foreclosed on in 1914. The estate was purchase in 1920 by the Irish Benedictine Nuns and was run as a boarding school until 2010. The Nuns still run the property and it is now one of the more popular tourist attractions in Western Ireland.
I visited the Kylemore Abbey on a bus tour that I took around the Connemara Region. It is a popular stop for bus tours and for drivers who are exploring the area. On the bus tour it was optional to enter the property and cost about €10.00 to visit. If you did not want to go inside you could stay at the restaurant and gift shop that was located at the entrance. I decided pay the entrance fee and explore the grounds.
On my visit I explored the Victorian Walled Gardens, the Castle and the Gothic Church. I was a little disappointed in the gardens and the castle. The reason for my disappointment were that the gardens were being replanted and were not in full bloom. I am sure that they are beautiful when they are fully planted but were mostly just grass and tiny plants I was there. The castle was also not that interesting because you could only see five or six rooms. There was a lot more of the grounds that I did not get to see because there was not enough time.
After walking the grounds or an hour and a half I decided to have a meal in Mitchell’s Cafe which is the the restaurant at the entrance of the Abbey. You do not have to pay admission to eat here. This was much better than I expect from a popular tourist destination. The food selection was great and everything was freshly made and very tasty. They use fresh vegetables and herbs that are grown on the estate. There was also a great selection of desserts so save room for those. If you visit the Abbey I would highly recommend eating at the restaurant.
Overall I did enjoy visiting the Abbey and the drive through the Connemara was really amazing. Ireland has some of the most scenic landscape that I have ever seen.
- Visit the Kylemore Abbey website for more details on visiting
- Purchase tickets online for a discount
- Eat at the Mitchell’s Restaurant for a great meal
- If you do not want to pay the entrance fee you can still eat at the restaurant and view the castle from across the lake
- It is about an hour drive from Galway