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Tuesday, 15 March 2022

Stepping Through the Gate: Inside Ireland's Walled Gardens - Irish Georgian Society Exhibition at Kylemore Abbey

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2022 marks the 21st anniversary of the historic restoration of Kylemore Abbey's Victorian Walled Gardens by the Benedictine nuns, who run the heritage estate in the west of Ireland. 
This important conservation project returned Mitchell Henry's beautiful walled gardens to their Victorian glory and won the prestigious Europa Nostra Award in 2002. 
To mark the anniversary, Kylemore Abbey will host an Irish Georgian Society exhibition of paintings of walled gardens at Kylemore Abbey's Fordham Hall from 5 March - 30 April*. This is the first of a larger programme of events which will take place over the coming years in preparation of a yearlong celebration of 25 years of the Victorian Walled Garden Restoration in 2024/5.
Speaking on the announcement of the exhibition, Executive Director of the Irish Georgian Society, Donough Cahill remarked:
 “This exhibition is an ideal opportunity for the Irish Georgian Society to partner with Kylemore Abbey in celebrating the 21st anniversary of the opening of Kylemore’s magnificent Victorian Walled Gardens. The Benedictine nuns’ achievement in restoring these gardens has created a lasting legacy that is enjoyed by tens of thousands every year and, together with Kylemore’s historic buildings, nurtures an enthusiasm for visitors in the preservation of Ireland’s rich heritage.” 
Featuring renowned Irish gardens, including the Victorian Walled Garden at Kylemore Abbey, the specially commissioned exhibition by The Irish Georgian Society comprises fifty paintings by four leading Irish artists: Lesley Fennell, Andrea Jameson, Maria Levinge and Alison Rosse.
Speaking on behalf of the Kylemore Trust, Conor Coyne, Executive Director said "we are delighted to welcome the Irish Georgian Society’s touring exhibition featuring some of Ireland’s most beautiful walled gardens, painted by four talented Irish artists. As a non-profit organisation, with a dual mandate for heritage preservation and the support of monastic life, our gardens are the embodiment of Kylemore’s mission: to preserve for Ireland a place of beauty, tranquility and spiritual peace.  We are delighted to partner with the Irish Georgian Society on this project, and look forward to welcoming many visitors to see this exhibition over the next month or so."

Curated by Robert O'Byrne, the exhibition is of interest to anyone with an interest in Irish gardens, gardening, or painting. Access to the exhibition is included with admission ticket to Kylemore Abbey & Gardens.  
Paintings will be available for purchase with proceeds to the Irish Georgian Society and The Kylemore Trust.
(* excl. 25 & 26 March)