A beautiful visit to Kylemore Abbey & Victorian Walled Gardens, Connemara Ireland.

Kylemore Castle.

The first full sunny day of our holidays beckoned us to visit Kylemore Abbey &  Victorian Walled Gardens.  It  is simply beautiful, and if you are  in Connemara it is well worth the visit. www.kylemoreabbeytourism.ie  Admission for our family of five was 33 euros (about $40).  The first worker we came across was a lovely Irish girl who informed us that midgets (very annoying, small mosquito like bugs) love the Connemara area, and that the best defense for them was spraying on Skin So Soft (an Avon product)!  She kindly handed us her bottle and said “here, you can spray your family”.  So then we were armed to enjoy our day at the Gardens.

Kylemore Abbey sits on 1000 acres with woodland, lakeshore, and the largest Victorian walled garden in Ireland. The castle was built in 1867 by Mitchell Henry (as a romantic gift!) for his wife Margaret. Tragically, Margaret died in 1874.  In 1877 a Gothic Church was built on the property as a memorial to her. It is often described as a cathedral in miniature due to its proportions.   It is beautiful, with pillars of stone from the 4 provinces of Ireland: red Cork marble from Munster, black Kilkenny marble from Leinster, green Connemara marble from Connaught, grey Armagh marble from Ulster.

The 6 acre walled gardens have been restored to some of their 1870s majestic splendor.  They only have plants and vegetables which grew in Victorian times, growing them all from seed on the grounds.  So far, two of the original 21 glass houses have been restored.  I was surprised to learn of the exotic fruits they used to grow in them. Fruits such as bananas, melons, grapes, and figs were grown and sometimes shipped to England.  The garden is divided into two areas; a kitchen garden and a flower garden, with trees and a stream dividing the two.

Since 1920 Kylemore has been home to a community of nuns of the Benedictine Order.  They are the directors of the Kylemore Trust, keeping a close eye on how the Kylemore estate is run today. In addition to their spiritual daily routine, they run their farm and make handcrafted products such as soaps, sweets, and jams.

This is just a small glimpse! There really is so much more to this beautiful gem of an estate.  It is well worth a visit. We were very lucky to have a lovely sunny day to explore the grounds, and some Skin So Soft to protect us from the bugs 🙂

I must get back to my garden plans … they need some adjusting after this visit!
Dana

View of Kylemore Castle from the far side of the lake. In order to preserve the family’s privacy, Mr. Henry had the main road re-routed to the far side of the lake, and used the original road, which runs in front of the castle, as his personal access road around the estate.

The Gothic Church. Note the stone which comes from around Ireland.

The Gothic church is often described as a cathedral in miniature.

View around the lake at Kylemore Abbey.

The gardens captivated me!  They were incredibly neat and tidy, with so many different sections!  I’ve tried to give a glimpse of as much as I could.  We were lucky to  manage some photos with very few people – it’s just how the flow of people moved.  I hope you like the little virtual tour!

The flower garden side of the walled gardens.

Flower garden side of walled gardens. The designs are exactly as they were in the original gardens.

The kitchen garden side of the walled gardens.

View of the mountains from the kitchen garden side of walled gardens.

Some of the cold frames. All of the plants at Kylemore are started from seed on the grounds.

Artichokes.

A splash of color.

Couldn’t resist a picture of a purple flower…

10 thoughts on “A beautiful visit to Kylemore Abbey & Victorian Walled Gardens, Connemara Ireland.

  1. What a fantastic day out! I love Victorian walled gardens – the history, the old gardeners who toiled to produce pineapples in our climate and the ingenious ways of managing things. I was inspired to design my little kitchen garden after seeing the beautiful one at Chatsworth house in Derbyshire… it may not look the same but I bottled the essence and brought it home 😉

    • Given how beautiful your garden is, PJ Girl, I’d say you succeeded! I’ve been taking so many pictures and gathering ideas (including your lovely kitchen garden) as our garden is still a work in progress. I love seeing how others work with space and create color schemes! Thanks for your comments, too!

  2. That was such a nice read and the photos of all the flowers and landscapes really brightened up my day! It seems like you really learned a lot while you were there too, some people don’t pay half as much attention! Did they tell you that Kylemore Abbey used to be one of Ireland’s most prestigious girls school until recently too? Gotta be jealous of whomever got to go to school in surroundings like that! Also, I’d never heard that about the trick with the Skin So Soft, I’m going to have to source some the next time I’m out on a ramble! You learn something new every day, eh? Kylemore is one of my favourite spots and it seems like it made quite the impression on you too.

    • Thanks for the compliment! We didn’t know any of the Kylemore history before our visit. The brochures we received there filled us in on just about everything! I agree with you, the girls’ school sounded like a very special place. I thought it was wonderful how much Mr. Henry cared for the local people, and how forward thinking he was. Kylemore is definitely one of my new favorite places to visit 🙂 I’m glad you enjoyed my post about it!

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