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The School Years

Kylemore Abbey School (Scoil Aine) ran at Kylemore from 1923 until it finally closed it doors in 2010. A boarding and day school, Kylemore gained a reputation far in excess of it’s physical size. Today hundreds of women around the world fondly remember their time as ‘K’ girls in the magical location of Kylemore Abbey. Visit our School Exhibition on the ground floor of the Abbey to learn more.


Creating A School

The Benedictine nuns have always had a tradition of education. When they were known as the “Irish Dames of Ypres”, Irish nobility  sent their daughters to be educated by the Benedictine nuns in their ancient Belgian Abbey. When the nuns came to Kylemore, they went about transforming the castle into an Abbey and created an international boarding school.The principal reception rooms and bedrooms in the Abbey were converted into classrooms with other rooms being converted into dormitories. The school was formally opened in 1923. 30 pupils were enrolled on the appointment day. The students received an education drawn up in accordance with the principles of Benedictine education and on the lines if a public secondary school. From the beginning, the school was seen as a ‘high-class school’ offering ‘all the advantages of a Continental education without the necessity for lengthened travel’


The school attracted many foreign students, many of whom came to study English. The majority of students came from Galway and neighbouring counties. The foreign students came mostly from Europe with some coming from India, Japan, Mexico and America. In the 1930s, the school started to cater for day students from the locality. Local girls were invited to receive an education,free of charge. Day pupils studied alongside boarding students and pupils developed friendships lasting long after they left school.



Due to societal changes, numbers enrolling at Kylemore started to decrease. With only one nun remaining teaching and increasing running and maintenance costs, it was decided to close the school. The last students of Kylemore Abbey sat their exams in June 2010. Kylemore’s ethos of education however continues. Today the famous Notre Dame University of Indiana USA are based in Kylemore which has become one of their Global Gateways for learning and social exchange. Summer schools such as the Connemara Maths Academy also make use of the former school rooms and through out the year Sr Karol O’Connell continues to welcome music students from the locality to learn music and singing in the Abbey’s former Billiards Room.