Today, Kylemore Abbey & Victorian Walled Garden is the most visited attraction in the west of Ireland. Thousands of people come to visit Kylemore every year to see the magnificent fairy tale castle and Abbey. They also come to experience not only the natural beauty of the Kylemore but to experience the aura of peace and tranquillity and a sense of spirituality.
Visiting the Abbey
Visit the restored rooms of the Abbey to step back in time and learn about the lives of those who lived, worked and prayed in this beautiful building . Rooms open to the public include:
- Entrance Hall :The oak panelled entrance hall is the start of your self guiding tour, following the information panels through the building.
- Inner Hall and Saloon Hall: The inner hall contains the grand stair case where light floods in from the imposing leaded windows. Look up from the Saloon Hall to view one of Kylemore’s several glass ceilings which were cleverly used to bring light into the building. The décor here is of mock Jacobean panelling brought to Kylemore by the Duke and Duchess of Manchester.
- Drawing Room: The Drawing Room with its fine Italian marble fireplace and hand stencilled wallpapers was once the favourite room of Margaret Henry. As you enter the room you will see our only original portrait of Margaret Henry on your left.
- Morning Room: The morning room was where the ladies sat to read, sew and entertain their day time guests. Explore the intriguing collection of artefacts of the Benedictine Community who are still in residence at Kylemore.
- Dining Room: The walls here were originally lined with black and gold silks and today you see the table laid as if waiting for its guests to arrive. Note the portrait of William the second on the back wall to the left of the room and the monogrammed coffee cups and silver in the display case and the finely carved Kilkenny marble fireplace.
- Kylemore Abbey School Exhibition: Opposite the entrance hall is an exhibition which tells the story of the much loved Kylemore Abbey Girl’s School which closed it’s doors for the last time in 2010.
Visiting the Abbey
The remainder of the Abbey is part of the nuns’ private enclosure and education rooms. Feel free to light a candle at the small shrine dedicated to Our Lady in the Front Hall. A book of prayer requests is also located here where you can ask the Benedictine sisters to pray on your behalf.
Complementary History Talks take place three times a day throughout the year, at 11.30am, 1.00pm and 3.00pm. let our guides bring the story of Kylemore to life with the story of the Abbey’s beginnings in the 1840’s as a romantic gift to becoming home to the Benedictine Community in 1920. Our Audio Visual presentation brings the story of Kylemore to life and begins every fifteen minutes in the fomer Library, on the left handside as you enter the Abbey. A presentation in French takes place at quarter to the hour and the German version plays at quarter past the hour.
The Benedictine Nuns remain in residence at Kylemore and as Directors of the Kylemore Trust, they are very much part of the fabric of today’s Kylemore, indeed its spiritual heart. They continue with their daily life of work and prayer according to the ancient Rule of St. Benedict. They run their farm on the estate, make handcrafted products and offer a space for monastic retreats. Please visit the community section of our website to learn more.