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Monday, 29 January 2024

Historic Connemara Landmark Goes Green Kylemore Abbey Takes Strides Towards Sustainability

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Last week Kylemore Abbey announced that the neo-Gothic Church located in the Kylemore woodland, and the estate’s fleet of shuttle buses are going green as they switch to HVO Biofuel which will reduce emissions by up to 87%. 
Since 2019, Kylemore Abbey has been making a concerted effort to become a leader in sustainable tourism, winning the Most Sustainable Business Award in 2021at the Galway Chamber Awards, and on Friday last, by announcing this development with Sweeney Oil, who will be supplying the HVO biofuel, it took its next steps. Speaking at the announcement, Conor Coyne, Kylemore Abbey CEO, reaffirmed Kylemore Abbey’s commitment to sustainability.
“At Kylemore Abbey, we are constantly looking for ways to have a positive impact on the environment. The use of HVO, as a substitute for fossil fuel, is yet another step on this journey.
By switching from Diesel and Heating Oil, we are dramatically reducing our own carbon footprint and promoting environmental stewardship to the many guests who come to visit us from around the world.”
The use of the HVO Biofuel in one of Kylemore’s most loved buildings and on the shuttle bus which carries over 250,000 visitors the 1.6km distance between the castle and garden annually will ensure the impact of the biofuel is felt by most visitors across the 1,000-acre estate. 
The neo-Gothic Church which is now known as a place for quiet reflection and beautiful music recitals, was originally built in 1874 by Mitchell Henry to honour his late wife, Margaret. Henry was a man of great social conscience and innovation, by becoming one of the first major visitor attractions in Ireland to make the move to biofuels in this way, Kylemore Abbey is endeavouring to honour Henry’s legacy while continuing the mission of stewardship led by the Benedictine Community of Kylemore Abbey. 

The significant reduction in emissions from these vehicles will contribute to the extensive biodiversity work that is being carried out on the estate. This work includes removing invasive Rhododendron ponticum, planting over 200 native trees annually, and a research partnership with the University of Galway. Kylemore Abbey has been documented stating that the end goal is to change to electric vehicles using hydro and solar power to supplement power supply, the move to HVO Biofuel demonstrates their commitment to making significant improvements where possible in the interim. 
This move also signals another sustainable commitment made by Kylemore Abbey to work with local suppliers. Speaking about announcement, local businessman John Sweeney of Sweeney Oil remarked,
“Sweeney Oil, supplier of HVO throughout Connacht, is delighted to be associated with Kylemore Abbey, an iconic property in Connemara in their efforts to reduce emissions and their carbon footprint as suppliers of Hydrotreated Vegetable Oil (HVO).
As Kylemore Abbey continues to make strides towards sustainable practices, it remains steadfast in its commitment to preserving the environment and upholding the legacy of Mitchell Henry, embodying the values of the Benedictine Community of Kylemore Abbey.