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Kylemore Abbey is the oldest of the Irish Benedictine Abbeys. The present Benedictine nuns have a long history of spirituality, education and perseverance.

Brief History

The Benedictine Nuns invite visitors to discover the history, beauty and serenity of Kylemore Abbey.

Built as a breath-taking castle in 1868, Kylemore Abbey’s history is a truly remarkable one. The twists of fate which its occupants experienced, from moments of romance and happiness to sadness and courage have all combined to create a fascinating history spanning over 150 years, and a legacy of innovation, education, and spirituality. For the past 100 years, it has been an abbey and home to a Benedictine Community of Nuns who invite visitors to engage in Kylemore’s incredible story “From Generation to Generation”.
This is the story about how Mitchell and Margaret Henry bought Kylemore and construct the castle bringing change and economic growth to the Connemara region
Mitchell Henry

Mitchell & Margaret Henry

Margaret Vaughan Henry, wife of Mitchell Henry, laid the foundation stone for Kylemore castle on September 4th 1874.

While travelling in Connemara in the early 1950's the couple saw the hunting lodge in the Kylemore valley which Mitchell later bought and planned as an elaborate love token for Margaret and as a 'nesting place' for the growing Henry family. Throughout their 35-year residence in Kylemore, the Henry’s developed the beautiful estate, suffered great loss, and Mitchell Henry became a key figure of Irish politics and social reform.
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The Duke & Duchess of Manchester

Despite spending less than 11 years in residence in Kylemore, this stylish couple made many changes to the castle during their time there.

One of Kylemore Castle’s more colourful past residents was the Duke of Manchester, William Angus Drogo Montague, and his American heiress wife, the Duchess Helena Zimmerman. Despite spending less than 11 years in residence in Kylemore, this stylish couple made many changes to the castle during their time and they were often a source of intrigue in the locality and beyond.
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Benedictine history
Kylemore Abbey is the oldest of the Irish Benedictine Abbeys. The present Benedictine nuns have a long history of spirituality, education and perseverance.

The Benedictine Nuns

The present Benedictine nuns of Kylemore Abbey have a long history of spirituality, education, and perseverance.

From their beginnings in Brussels in 1598 to their flight to Ireland as refugees of World War One, to finding and making their home in Kylemore Abbey, where they have, for the past 100 years overcome many challenges and setbacks to continue in their mission and follow the Rule of St. Benedict.
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The School Years

A boarding and day school for locals, national and international students alike, Kylemore gained a reputation far in excess of its physical size.

Having always being deeply rooted in providing education, in 1923, three years after arriving to Kylemore, the Benedictine nuns founded and ran Kylemore Abbey School (Scoil Aine) until it finally closed its doors in 2010. A boarding and day school for locals, national and international students alike, Kylemore gained a reputation far in excess of its physical size. Today hundreds of alumnae (link alum page)around the world fondly remember their time as 'K' girls in the magical location of Kylemore Abbey”.
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Legends of Kylemore

Ireland is a country with countless tales of myth and folklore. Kylemore is steeped in romantic and colourful Irish legends and mythology.

Many of the mountains and lakes in this area have ancient stories associated with them, which are captured and immortalised in their original Irish names. Here is a selection of local legends of Kylemore…
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Connemara Web Size

Local Landscape

Connemara tourism is expanding each year and many overseas tourists come to visit the West of Ireland.

Over the approximately 180 years since Mitchell Henry and his newly wed Margaret honeymooned in Connemara and first caught site of Kylemore Lodge, the region has endured and experienced a variety of hardships and developments which has shaped the people of Connemara and Kylemore’s role within the area.
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From generation to generation