Posted by: mdmusingsie | July 22, 2018

Kylemore Castle and Gardens

Another place I’ve visited several times is Kylemore Castle/Abbey.  Since it has always been on a bus tour and our time limited, I’ve always chosen the castle over the gardens.  However, knowing that it’s only the same five rooms to visit (nothing new had been opened), I decided to visit the gardens.

However, when researching previous blog posts, it seems I never posted pictures (or they’ve been removed).  So here’s a few photos of the castle and the rooms that are open to the public.


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The gardens had become an overgrown ruin, but were re-discovered and restoration began in 1995.  They have been open to the public since 2000.


Metal and rope sheep outside the tea room at the gardens

Laid out in Victorian style, the gardens are certainly impressive.  They had the floral gardens on one side, and the ‘common’ garden, where the food and herbs were grown, on the other side of trees, hedges and a mountain stream.  It would not have been proper to mix the two. Both gardens are enclosed by a stone wall.


Size alone would make these gardens remarkable; however, what I found more impressive was their overall ‘V’ shape.  The gardens slope down both sides of two hills into a valley walkway.


Once I’ve finished admiring the beauty of something, I tend to turn it around and look at things from a practical point of view.  This meant wondering how they mowed the grass up and down those hills.

On the far side of the formal garden and up the second hill are a greenhouse and fountain that was under repair.


The kitchen garden does not have the same dramatic slope of the formal garden.

To get to the gardens you need to take a 10 minute shuttle bus ride through lovely woodlands.  That practical side of me began to wonder how they brought the vegetables from the kitchen garden to the castle.  I suspect there was some kind of horse or donkey and cart, or maybe even a bicycle pulling a cart in the times before the engine.

There’s also a little fair glade for the wee folk.


While the tourist trade does a lot to keep the place running, there has been speculation over the years about what will happen to the estate. The girls’ school closed eight years ago, and the Benedictine nuns are aging. I found out that the nuns who own/run the estate have entered into a partnership with Notre Dame University in Indiana. They have opened a center of excellence and hold workshops and courses of study of varying lengths.

I’m certain that anyone who sees the pictures of the place would be thrilled to be able to visit; however, from what the bus driver said, they don’t exactly tell the students that after a transatlantic flight they have to drive an hour plus to Galway then another 2-ish hours out to Kylemore.  Maybe the Notre Dame influence will help improve the roadways out to Kylemore.  Or the government could get wise and charge a 1 Euro road supplement to each bus passenger (there are dozens of buses that visit the site each day).  While I’m not proposing a motorway, it would be nice to have roads where two buses can easily pass each other without inching by.  Just a thought…

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