We are open!

Estate open 10am-5pm (last admission 4pm) ~ Craft Shop open 11:30am-5pm ~ Mitchell’s Cafe open 11:30am-3:30pm

Breathtaking image of Kylemore Abbey in Ireland’s first Wiki Loves Ireland Top10

Kylemore Abbey features in the top 10 of this year’s  Irish round of the world’s biggest photography competition dedicated to natural heritage., Wiki Loves Earth. The breathtaking image entitled Kylemore Abbey Reflections by Diego Lopez has now been entered into the international competition!

Wiki Loves Earth (WLE) is an annual international photographic competition held throughout May and June, organized worldwide by Wikimedia chapters, groups, and local Wikipedia volunteers. Participants take pictures of local natural heritage and scenic landscapes in their countries and upload them to Wikimedia Commons. For all participating countries there are separate competitions organized by local teams, so periods, rules, prizes, etc. might differ a bit.

2020 is the first year that Ireland has taken part in Wiki Loves Earth, with the photography competition taking place during July.

Initiated by Wikimedia, the movement behind free encyclopedia Wikipedia, and run by the Wikimedia Community Ireland, the competition aims to raise awareness of Ireland’s protected sites and habitats and create a crowd-sourced bank of quality photos that will be free to use for education.

Amateur and professional photographers were invited to photograph national parks, nature reserves, and Special Areas of Conservation in their locality and upload their photos to Wikimedia Commons. Entries were judged by science communicator Dr. Niamh Shaw, academic at NUIG Dr. Caitriona Carlin, and Axel Pettersson of Wikimedia Sverige.

Dr. Shaw commented: “It was initially overwhelming to select the top 10 images. There were so many great images captured in Ireland.“It’s been so long since I’ve been in the real outdoors because of the lockdown, and reviewing all these stunning images, I had forgotten how beautiful our country is, even if the weather is a bit rubbish. So that was nice. Terrific standard of entries this year and congratulations to all involved.”

Check out the top 10 Ireland entries here:


Kylemore Abbey Reflections by Diego Lopez

Other Voices Courage 2020 TONIGHT

We are delighted to announce that the spectacular performances of Cormac Begley and Stephanie Keane in Kylemore Abbey’s neo-Gothic Church will feature on tonight’s episode of Other Voices Courage at 10:30pm on RTE2.
Known for his lively arrangements of traditional tunes on concertina’s from across the scales, Cormac was joined in the neo-Gothic Church by the wonderful Sean Nós dancer Stephanie Keane whose steps filled the historic building beautifully. The romantic and tragic history of the Church was echoed in the various styles of music that were performed n the church just a couple of weeks ago and we are delighted that it is now coming to your TV screens.
Also featured on tonight’s show is Fontaine’s D.C. coming from Kilmainham Gaol and Saint Sister & Crash Ensemble coming from the Guild Hall in Derry.
That’s not all folks! Make sure to set tonight’s show on series link as more of the beautiful performances from the neo-Gothic Church with Laoise Kelly and Anna Mieke feature in upcoming episodes of the wonderful Courage2020 series.

Kylemore Abbey to host worldwide showcase of top traditional Irish artists. Free online concert from the neo-Gothic Church

Other Voices “Courage” Live from the Gothic Church- Cormac Begley to be joined Laoise Kelly, Anna Mieke, and traditional dancer Stephanie Keane.


Thursday 16 July 2020, 8pm GMT  -online


We are delighted to host the Other Voices team and their new project ‘Courage’, which delivers uplifting, inspiring performances from brilliant artists to the public during the COVID-19 crisis.  Courage will beam these performances directly into homes across the nation and worldwide, from a number of iconic cultural locations.Their goal is to provide essential cultural output during this period. Music collapses distance in this time of isolation, it gives us courage, consolation and brings us together. ‘Courage’ series two has garnered a fantastic global response since it began on the 23rd of June, with concerts from renowned artists James Vincent Mc Morrow, Maija Sofia, Lankum, Kodaline, Cathey Davey among others.

Esteemed concertina player Cormac Begley comes from a traditional music dynasty in West Kerry, he has played across the globe and is involved in musical projects with other lauded musicians. Along with Traditional dancer Stephanie Keane he will perform in the Gothic Church tomorrow evening. Also joining us here at Kylemore, are world-renowned harpist Laoise Kelly, who was named TG4 Gradam Ceoil’s musician of the year in 2020 and singer-songwriter Anna Mieka whose critically acclaimed debut album ‘Idle Mind’ came out in 2019. Viewers will recognize her from the Normal People soundtrack.

The performance will be made available worldwide free of charge. We are so honored to showcase the finest of Irish talent in the stunning surrounds of the neo-Gothic Church.


Tune in tomorrow at 8PM via Other Voices’ YouTube + Facebook Live and RTÉ.ie to watch the show. Music for the head and the heart. 


Courage series two is currently being shown on Irish TV channel RTE2 Thursdays at 22.20.


Ready to Reopen

What you can expect from a day out in Kylemore Abbey this Summer

The day is almost upon us, when we can once again open the gates at Kylemore and welcome back visitors and friends to the 1,000-acre estate.

There has been changes to every part of everyone’s lives, Kylemore is no different. But we have made every effort to ensure that a visit to Kylemore is a safe, enjoyable, and uninhibited experience.

We are so grateful for the support and generosity shown to us down through the years and in the last few months in particular, and thank you for adherence to and consideration of the new guidelines we are implementing.

We are just delighted to be sharing this wonderful experience with you all again.

Kylemore Abbey Reopening July 3rd

The Kylemore estate will reopen on July 3rd in line with the Government Reopening Roadmap. 

On July 3rd Kylemore Abbey & Victorian Walled Garden will re-open to visitors with some minimally restrictive access to buildings. The Abbey, Victorian Walled Garden and neo-Gothic Church will be open. Garden buildings and food and retail outlets will be allowing a limited number of visitors in at a time while observing social distancing. Visitors will get to embrace the natural wonders of the estate while also getting to enjoy the wonderful new visitor experience; “From Generation to Generation….the story of Kylemore”, as featured on the recent RTE show “Great Irish Interiors”, and get to indulge in the famous hospitality of the Kylemore Kitchen and the many homemade and Irish products sold in our Craft & Design shop. We will be encouraging visitors to get out and explore the wider estate which has blossomed beautifully over the last number of weeks, walk the beautiful tree-lined and lakeshore paths, and maybe even get to meet our new Connemara Ponies and foals, and comical Kune Kune Pigs.  
All of this will be done with the greatest consideration of public health guidelines to ensure the safety of our visitors and staff. 
Our Garden, Grounds and Maintenance Staff have been working hard since May 18th to make sure that the Estate is looking as beautiful as ever. They have also been working with our specially appointed Safety Advisor to ensure that all of the appropriate health and safety procedures are in place, allowing us to assure visitors of their safety and to offer them a care-free day out. 
Due to restrictions on groups of people gathering, we regret to say our history talks, musical performances and “behind-the-scenes” tours will not be going ahead as planned, however, our knowledgeable History Guides will be available to answer any questions. 

We have reviewed our ticket prices to reflect the change in experience and under 16’s now go free. 
Opening Hours: Estate &Grounds-10.00 am-5.00 pm (last admission to the estate 4.00 pm)
Mitchell’s café – 11:30 am- 3.30 pm. 

The Craft & Design Shop –  11:30 am -5 pm.
We strongly encourage pre-booking tickets online at kylemoreabbey.com to guarantee entry to the estate.

Name our Foal Competition


Foal competition

Last week, Niamh’s brilliant blog gave you some of the history of the Connemara Pony and the story behind our new additions to the Kylemore Estate. Now we want your help naming our filly foal.

Born on the morning of April 15th, this cutie joined our other new arrival, Peaceful Paschal, named for his Easter birth. “Peaceful….” as she will be named is already a star on the Kylemore social media accounts and we are sure will be a favourite with visitors once we reopen.

Have your say on what her name should be on the Kylemore Abbey Instagram (https://www.instagram.com/kylemoreabbey/) or Facebook pages (https://www.facebook.com/KylemoreAbbeyandGarden/) between now and May 29th to be in with a chance of not only being part of history as the first person to name one of the first-ever Connemara Pony foals to be born on the estate, but also, win a luxurious Kylemore Abbey Hamper filled with delicious Kylemore treats and goodies, plus a Family Pass to the Kylemore Estate to visit the lovely little Lady you named.

Some things to know about her before you get naming:

  • “Peaceful…….” was born April 15th.
  • Her Mommy is…….and her Daddy is an “Atlantic Star”.
  • Her Mommy’s Dad was an international showjumping star who won medals across Europe.

Good Luck!

Nature Blog: Get to Know Our Connemara Ponies


As the sun rose over Pollacapall Lough on Easter Sunday morning a small whicker could be heard on the Kylemore Abbey Estate as Fern, one of our Connemara broodmares welcomed her foal into the World. A beautiful strong colt foal, he has fittingly been named “Peaceful Paschal”, symbolising rebirth and renewal. This is the first-ever Connemara foal born at Kylemore Abbey.

Two days later a second foal arrived. This time a gorgeous filly. While the two foals are enjoying getting to know their new scenic surroundings, we are eagerly awaiting the arrival of our third foal.

The gestation period for a foal is on average eleven months. Within a few minutes of being born a foal will stand up and greedily look to suckle its mother. For the first six months of its life, the foal will continue to suckle its mother.

Connemara ponies originated in the Hills of Connemara and are renowned for their sturdiness, surefootedness and agility, traits which have been passed from generation to generation. Traditionally they were used to work on the land, draw seaweed from the shore and bring the family to Sunday mass, often while rearing a foal. Nowadays, these ponies are highly sought after all over the World as top performance ponies while their kind temperaments make them the perfect child’s pony.

As Spring leads into Summer and the Victorian Walled Garden is in full bloom, all of us here at Kylemore Abbey are excited to see our foals blossom and grow, while developing their own unique personalities.

The herd of Connemara ponies arrived at Kylemore Abbey last year and since then have attracted a huge number of admirers. Visitors delight in seeing these friendly ponies pop their heads over the fence as they enjoy lunch outside the Garden Tea House.

The ponies at Kylemore Abbey live outdoors in their natural surroundings all year round. These lucky ponies get to enjoy spectacular views of the Connemara landscape while grazing sheltered fields on the Estate.

We look forward to welcoming you to Kylemore Abbey to meet our beautiful Connemara ponies when we re-open. In the meantime, keep an eye on our Facebook and Instagram pages for regular updates on our ponies.

by Niamh Philbin.


Congratulations to long-time friend of Kylemore

For many years, Professor John Feerick of Fordham University Law School has been a loyal friend to Kylemore Abbey.  His personal philanthropic generosity and his advocacy for Kylemore’s development on a range of fronts has been a continuing support and blessing.  The Benedictine nuns send warmest congratulations to John on the publication of his memoir, That Further Shore: A Memoir of Irish Roots and American Promise published this month by Fordham University Press. 

To read an extract from John’s memoir detailing his upbringing as the eldest child to Irish immigrants in the South Bronx to practicing law, his landmark role in framing the U.S. Constitution’s Twenty-Fifth Amendment, and his leadership as dean of Fordham Law School, among many other major milestones … go to https://news.law.fordham.edu/blog/2020/04/17/that-further-shore-john-d-feerick-61-on-serving-others/


History Blog May 2020

Welcome to our new History Blog from Kylemore Abbey and Victorian Walled Garden, we hope to cover all kinds of topics relevant to the history of Kylemore. We are absolutely spoilt for choice with over 150 years of history to speak of, and hundreds more years if we look back at the history of the Benedictine Community and indeed local and regional historical happenings. Each month we will focus on favourite images or artefacts from the Kylemore archive, to take us on a time traveling journey away from Lock Down 2020 and back into the past, just for a visit!

The first image I have chosen is a lovely one of little Louis Mitchell Henry. We received this image last year along with lots more when our in-house archivist Dr Damien Duffy and I travelled to Edinburgh to meet with one of the Henry descendants, Mark Mitchell Henry and his mother Lucy. Lucy’s husband was Sam Mitchell Henry the son of the little boy seen here in the sailor suit, who was himself the son of Lorenzo and Marion Henry and the grandson of Mitchell Henry. That means that Mark who had invited us to visit, is the great great grandson of Mitchell and Margaret Henry who built Kylemore Castle.

 Louis Mitchell Henry in a sailor suit as worn on family trips on the Lusitania

 The Henry family believe this photograph may have been taken on board the SS. Lusitania on which the Henry family regularly travelled on back and over the Atlantic. Louis’s mother Marion was born Marion Raegner the daughter of a wealthy New York banking family and she was accustomed to a life of luxury, travel and leisure. Being the son of Mitchell Henry, Lorenzo was equally accustomed to a luxurious life although in the later years of his father’slife as Mitchell Henry’s money ran  out the family was considerably less affluent. Little Louis on his travels became quite acquainted to many of the staff on the Lusitania including the orchestra who played in the Dining Room in the evenings and on deck during the day. One of Louis’s favourite jobs was to run up to the orchestra with hand written requests from his parents and other guests. Looking at what an adorable figure he cut in his little sailor suit we can easily imagine how Louis would have become a favourite with other passengers as well as the crew and orchestra members.

Louis Mitchell Henry with his mother Marion, circa 1911 

It is part of the Henry family lore that many members of the Lusitania orchestra also played on the Titanic and were well known to little Louis and his parents and so would have been some of the heroic musicians who played music  as the Titanic sank. The band leader who took the courageous decision to  continue playing was the violinist Wallace Hartley, who’d previously played on both the Mauretania and the Lusitania. The band famously played ‘Nearer My God to Thee’ as the ship began to go down, knowing full well that as male crew they would not be making it to the lifeboats. We can only imagine the reaction of  Louis and his parents on hearing this story and remembering the magical evenings of music and laughter on other luxury liners which would have been so similar to the Titanic the joy that was brought to them by these musicians who had such a sad and heroic end.

We have many more images of Louis’ parents Lorenzo and Marion who were a fascinating couple and we look forward to sharing more of their stories with you in the near future. In particular Lorenzo was well known for his many accomplishments as a sports man and inventor while as a couple Lorenzo and Marion were very active in fundraising for the red cross during WW1, they also travelled widely and were friends with amongst other notable figures the Duke of Connaught but these are stories for another time! As we are all now living through a very historical  but difficult moment in time, we hope our blogs will provide an interesting diversion for you. A special thank you to Mark and Lucy Mitchell Henry for their generosity with their family stories and photographs. Please let us know if there are any special Kylemore stories you would like to hear about.


Louis Mitchell Henry with his father, Lorenzo Mitchell Henry circa 1911

Written by Eithne O’Halloran with special thanks to Mark and Lucy Mitchell Henry for their generosity in sharing their family photographs and stories and to Kylemore archivist Dr Damien Duffy for fact checking this piece.








Cooking in Lockdown- Recipes & Tips from Head Chef, John O’Toole.

Kylemore’s Head Chef, John O’Toole, joined Keith Finnegan on Galway Bay FM this morning to discuss his passion for his profession and to give listeners some key recipes from “A Flavour of Kylemore Abbey” and tips on cooking and baking during the lock-down. Take a listen to the interview at the link below and then have a go at some of our favourite recipes from the Kylemore cookbook.

Interview at 1:41:35

Galway Talks with Keith Finnegan – April 23rd 2020

Baked Cod Stuffed with Smoked Salmon and Horseradish with a Parmesan Crust

250g bread, slightly stale

Handful of fresh parsley and dill, chopped

180g parmesan, freshly grated

100g butter, melted

Handful of sun-dried tomatoes, chopped

Salt & black pepper

1kg cod, deboned and skinned, cut into 4 portions

2tsp of horseradish cream

4 slices of Connemara smoked salmon

Line baking tray with foil and brush with melted butter. Blitz the bread and parsley in a food processor to fine crumbs, then add the parmesan, melted butter, sundried tomatoes, half a teaspoon of salt and some pepper, then blitz again.

Wipe the fish with kitchen paper and cut open along the side to make into two pieces. Lay the bottom piece on the foil, smear with horseradish, place a slice of smoked salmon on top and cover with the second piece of cod. Press the parmesan crumb onto the top of the fish and season with salt and pepper. Cook on a high shelf in the over for 15 minutes at 180c until golden brown. Serve with salad.

Cheese Scones

500g self-raising flour

175g butter

112g grated cheese

100g sun-dried tomatoes with oil


1/4L buttermilk

Chef’s Tip: Get creative with your choice of savoury ingredients, Seaweed is a delicious and nutritious option. Also, never “over-work” the dough- keep in as much air as possible making for beautifully light scones. 

Sieve the flour into a bowl, then rub the butter into the flour until it resembles breadcrumbs. Add the grated cheese and sun-dried tomatoes along with some of the oil, especially if the tomatoes are marinated in the herbs. Add in the egg and the buttermilk and combine into a sot dough. Turn out onto a lightly floured board and knead lightly to smooth over. Roll out with a rolling pin and cut using a cutter. Place onto a lightly greased baking sheet and bake for 15 minutes at 170c until lightly brown.


But most importantly…Enjoy! 

We would love to see your kitchen creations and the fun you have with the Kylemore recipes. Send us your pictures and thoughts on Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter.