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New Conservation Plan for Kylemore Abbey

The Kylemore Trust today (10 November) announced that work has commenced on a new Conservation Plan at the iconic Kylemore Abbey estate.

Funded by the Heritage Council and Irish Georgian Society, with additional funding from Kylemore Trust, this Conservation Plan will focus on two of Kylemore’s unique heritage features – the neo-Gothic Church and the Victorian Walled Gardens.

As a non-profit organisation led by the Benedictine nuns, one of Kylemore Trust’s main purposes is to enhance and conserve the heritage and natural beauty of the Kylemore Estate for the nation. This Conservation Plan, focussed on the neo-Gothic Church and the Victorian Walled Gardens, will ensure the protection of the built infrastructure of these two architectural gems, identify future potential restoration projects, and advise on improving access for people with disabilities at these sensitive heritage settings.

This work which commenced earlier this month is led by Cathal Crimmins Architects (Grade 1 Conservation Architects) and will identify and make recommendations for a programme of future conservation projects at the iconic Connemara estate.

Since 1920 the Benedictine community have been committed stewards and conservators of the built heritage of Kylemore estate.  In the 1990s and 2000s, the Kylemore Trust led a refurbishment programme for the estate’s Gothic Revival Church and a partial restoration of the Victorian Walled Gardens. These achievements were recognised with prestigious Europa Nostra and RIAI awards. More recently, with co-funding from Fáilte Ireland, Kylemore Trust has made a significant investment in the restoration of the iconic Kylemore Abbey building itself.

Speaking on the announcement of the Conservation Plan, Kylemore Trust Executive Director, Conor Coyne said: “This year Kylemore Abbey welcomed more Irish visitors than ever before. As part of our mission to enhance the heritage of Kylemore, we have commissioned this work to provide us with a blueprint for future conservation works and to help us expand physical access to these unique spaces on our estate.  It builds on our strong commitment to sustainable development and social responsibility.”

Virginia Teehan, CEO of the Heritage Council commenting on their grant support said: “I am delighted we were able to contribute to this most welcome initiative through our Community Heritage Grant Scheme. This new conservation plan will build on much valuable work already carried out on the Kylemore Abbey estate. This latest initiative provides a pathway to the future – while cherishing the legacy of what has gone before,” she added.

Donough Cahill, CEO of the Irish Georgian Society added: “A Conservation Plan is an essential tool in guiding works to architecturally significant structures such as the neo-Gothic Church and Walled Gardens at Kylemore Abbey. Through the support of IGS London, the Irish Georgian Society’s grant will play a role not just in developing the Conservation Plan for these buildings, but also assist the Kylemore Trust in maintaining the high conservation standards they previously achieved and were duly recognised for.”

In acknowledging the support of the Heritage Council and the Irish Georgian Society, Kylemore Trust’s Head of Development, Liz McConnell thanked both organisations for their “commitment and support for Kylemore’s legacy of heritage conservation.  With this encouragement, Kylemore Trust can properly scope out the next phase of conservation and restoration at Kylemore.  We are delighted to be able to look to the future at this time and to begin to plan for future enhancements at these two distinctive national treasures.”

Funding for this Conservation Plan was provided through the Heritage Council’s Community Heritage Grant Scheme 2020 and the Irish Georgian Society’s Conservation Grants Programme 2020, with additional funding from Kylemore Trust.