Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Kylemore Abbey

On my first day in Ireland (Friday 31 Aug) my friend Ronan Long met me and after spending an hour at an EU fishery workshop (quite interesting) and having lunch at his university with a geographer colleague of his off we went heading north to his home in Westport.

Along the way we stopped in the Connemara National Park to visit the Kylemore Abbey:

Kylemore Abbey

The Abbey was first constructed as a castle by Mitchell Henry in 1867.  When, in 1874, he and his wife Margaret traveled to Egypt for vacation she fell ill and died from dysentery.  He then built a gothic church on the grounds as a memorial chapel for her.

Gothic church
Henry died in 1910 and his ashes were brought back to the Church and laid next to his wife. The castle and church were sold to the Duke and Duchess of Manchester in 1903.  In 1920 the property was purchased by Nuns of the Order of St. Benedict who had fled from Ypres, Flanders in 1914 during WWI-- they turned the property into an international boarding school for girls.  The school graduated its last students in 2010 and the abbey, church and immense gardens are now a tourist site.  The nuns still remain on the property where they continue their daily prayer and run the farm and make handcrafted products.

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