As thirteen buses made their way through the Inagh Valley on Wednesday morning last, the smell of barbecue and spit roast lamb was wafting through the air at Kylemore Abbey’s Garden Teahouse in preparation for over 500 touring American football fans.
Kylemore Abbey began what it hopes will become an annual tradition of welcoming the fans travelling to Ireland for the Aer Lingus Classic American Football game in Dublin’s Aviva Stadium. This year, the faithful fans of the Nebraska Cornhuskers and the Northwestern Wildcats were treated to a very special “Connemara tailgating Experience” held at the Garden Teahouse beside Kylemore’s stunning Victorian Walled Garden.
While the day centred around exploring the Kylemore Estate and the “Connemara tailgating Experience” of locally sourced burgers, lamb sausages, homemade ice cream and more delicious local flavours, there was also a host of Connemara themed activities to entertain the guests.
Sheep Dog trials by Killary Farm and a meet and greet with Kylemore’s Connemara ponies introduced the visitors to some of the region’s livestock, local musicians; Marcus Hernon and Luke Gannon and dancer Ronan Nee provided the lively party atmosphere, while young hurlers from Craughwell, and members of the Grainne Mhaols under 14 team were on hand to demonstrate GAA to this sports loving group. Guests also hand he opportunity to sample spit roast Connemara Lambs as well as Kylemore’s Country Cream Liqueur and the award-winning Honeycomb Chocolate made in Sr. Genevieve’s Chocolate Kitchen in Kylemore.
Even the weather played ball to make for a great Connemara Cultural experience for the visiting fans.
Next week will see another delegation of fans arriving to Kylemore. after which plans will begin for next years Classic of Notre Dame versus Navy. Given Kylemore’s close ties to Notre Dame – hosting part of their Global Campus in one wing of the castle, it promises to be another great celebration and reason to turn on the festival feeling again in Kylemore.
Kylemore Abbey is open 7 days from 10am to 6pm. Keep up to date with Kylemore Abbey on their website: www.kylemoreabbey.com and on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter.