For more than a century, Kylemore has been the romantic nineteenth-century Irish castle overlooking a lake in the West of Ireland.
Just a five minute walk along the shores of Lough Pollacapull lies Kylemore’s enchanting neo-Gothic Church. Kylemore Abbey’s Neo-Gothic Church was built in the style of a fourteenth-century. Described as a ‘Cathederal in Miniature’ this elegant building is a lasting testament to the love of Mitchell Henry for his wife Margaret. On your visit you may be lucky enough to enjoy one of the many musical performances that take place here throughout the year.
Visit our Choirs and Performances page for more details.
In 1874, Mitchell Henry Family holidayed in Egypt – an exotic and popular destination in Victorian times.
Sadly, tragedy struck on the River Nile. Margaret contracted dysentery and died sixteen days later. She was beautiful, 45 years old and a mother of nine. “It is not our mistress we have lost, but our mother” said one tenant as the distraught Mitchell had Margaret’s body embalmed and brought back to Connemara so that she could be laid to rest at her beloved Kylemore.
He could not bear the thought of having her lie in the cold ground of a foreign country. Mitchell immediately set about building a cathedral-in-miniature in memory of his wife Margaret. The beautiful gothic church is a testament of his love for Margaret.
Originally, the Gothic Church was a place of Anglican worship. Following the arrival of the Benedictine Nuns to Kylemore, it was re-dedicated as a Catholic Church in 1920. Today, it is used to host musical recitals, poetry readings and cross-community celebrations.
Tucked away a quiet spot along the avenue is the Mausoleum of Mitchell and Margaret Henry. This simple brick building is a modest resting place with an aura of peace and serenity. When Margaret died on a family holiday to Egypt in 1874, her body was embalmed in preparation for the return journey to Ireland. Local folklore tells that her beautifully preserved remains were placed in a glass coffin in the staircase hall supposedly with her hands placed serenely beneath her cheeks. In time Margaret’s remains were placed in the little mausoleum in the woods where in 1910 following his death in London her great love Mitchell Henry was also interred. Today you can visit the Mausoleum which is located just after the neo-Gothic Church on the left-hand side of the avenue.
This picture shows Ashley Stone who came to visit the resting place of her great-great-great-grandparents in 2015. In 2016 we received a visit from her father Tim Stone, great-great-grandson of Margaret and Mitchell Henry. When Ashley visited it was a delightful occasion which brought Kylemore Abbey back into contact with the direct descendants of the Henry family. We hope this is a relationship that will grow and last and we look forward to hosting a Henry family reunion sometime in the near future.