Kylemore Abbey: when to visit, what to see, and things to know

Widely recognised due to its prominence on Irish postcards, the beautiful Kylemore Abbey is genuinely breathtaking. Here is everything you need to know about Kylemore Abbey.

Nestled in the heart of the Connemara Mountains, the picturesque Kylemore Abbey is a bucket list experience not to be missed. This County Galway attraction is one of the most infamous and magnificent landmarks in of all Ireland.

This breathtaking baronial castle is reflected in a beautiful Connemara lake. Home to a stunning walled garden, a neo-Gothic church, and, of course, the mesmerising Abbey, this incredible landmark and its surrounding area is home to a wealth of history.

History – the origins of Kylemore Abbey

The history of Kylemore Abbey.

Kylemore Abbey and Victorian Walled Garden were initially built as part of a romantic gift in 1867. This lavish gift became the family home of the Henry’s who resided here for several years. However, tragedy struck when their mother died, and the Henry’s moved out in the years after.

Following this tragedy, in 1903 the Duke and Duchess of Manchester bought the property and began to renovate it. However, because of the Duke’s large gambling debts, the couple were forced to leave in 1913. For a few years following this, the castle and grounds remained idle.

Thankfully, in 1920, the castle and lands were purchased for Benedictine Nuns who fled Belgium during World War I. It was at this point that the castle was converted into an Abbey.

The Benedictine Nuns offered education by turning Kylemore Abbey into a Catholic girls boarding and day school.

Although the school closed in 2010, Kylemore Abbey continues to provide visitors with a wealth of information and knowledge. Upwards of 330,000 people visit this breathtaking sight, making Kylemore Abbey Connemara’s most popular tourist attraction.

When to visit – check the website prior to your visit

When to visit.
Credit: Tourism Ireland

Kylemore Abbey in County Galway can be visited at any time during the year. However, the opening hours vary.

As the winter months are the slowest months for the Irish tourism trade, the opening hours are generally shorter during this period. Always check the website for the latest up to date opening hours and announcements before making a journey.

We suggest visiting Kylemore Abbey when it opens first thing in the morning; this is usually the quietest time of the day. This will allow you to enjoy all that Kylemore has to offer without the crowds.

We also suggest picking a day when it isn’t forecast to rain, as the Victorian Walled Gardens are outside.

What to see – explore its fascinating history

What to see at Kylemore Abbey.

Wander amongst the beautifully restored period rooms within Kylemore Abbey, which act as a gateway into the past, as you will get to learn about its rich and colourful history.

Through audio-visual presentations and historical photographs, you will get a glimpse of life in Kylemore.

No trip to Kylemore would be complete without a visit to the well-maintained walled gardens.

These six acres of pristine garden are home to glasshouses, fruit trees, vegetable gardens, and a beautiful mountain stream. Displaying only plant varieties from the Victorian era, this garden has been restored to its former Victorian glory.

Although built in the 19th-century, the neo-Gothic church was built in the 14th-century style. This incredible piece of architecture was made to pay tribute to the late Margaret Henry, for whom Kylemore was built as a gift.

The Mausoleum of Mitchell and Margaret Henry is a simple brick building surrounded by the rugged Connemara beauty. Situated just off the main trail, it is incredibly peaceful and serene. This Mausoleum holds and pays tribute to those behind the beautiful Kylemore Abbey.

READ MORE: See what we have to say about Kylemore Abbey in our article on the top 10 most beautiful places to see in Connemara

Things to know – useful information

Things to know when visiting.
Credit: Tourism Ireland

There is a shuttle bus to and from the walled garden. However, if you aren’t pressed for time, we suggest opting for a leisurely walk.

By walking, you will get to enjoy the beautiful and quiet Connemara landscape. However, if you do opt for the shuttle bus, the cost of this is included in your ticket.

Tickets can be booked onsite or in advance online. Tickets that are booked online receive a 5% discount. An adult ticket is €12.50, and a student ticket is €10 while children under 16 go free.

There is also a gift shop where you can purchase handmade food and beauty products created by the Benedictine Nuns. The most popular of which is the delicious handmade chocolate!

Insider tips – other ways to experience Kylemore Abbey

Insider tips for visiting Kylemore Abbey.

If you just want to see the beauty of Kylemore from a distance, then you don’t need to pay.

When there is no fog, you should have no bother getting some beautiful pictures of the Abbey from outside the ticket zone. However, if time allows, we do suggest paying the few euro to explore all of the beautiful Kylemore Abbey.

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