When planning our 2019 photography tour to Ireland, my wife identified Kylemore Abbey as one of her ‘must see’ destinations. She was intrigued with the architecture and the rustic location.
NOTE: Click on images to enlarge.
The foundation stone for Kylemore was laid on September 4th 1867 by Margaret Vaughan Henry, the wife of Mitchell Henry.
Mitchell had inherited a very successful family business, which made him one of the wealthiest young men in Britain. This new found wealth enabled him to buy Kylemore Lodge and build a beautiful castle for his wife.
The magnificent castle was designed by the Irish architect James Franklin Fuller and the engineer Ussher Roberts Kylemore.
When constructed the estate had 33 bedrooms, 4 bathrooms, 4 sitting rooms, a ballroom, a billiard room, a study, a school room, a smoking room, a gun room, as well as various offices and residences for domestic staff.
Tragically in 1874, just a few years after the castle was completed, Margaret became ill while on a luxurious holiday in Egypt. Two weeks later she died. Here body was embalmed in Cairo, then returned to Kylemore. Margarets remains were placed in a modest red brick mausoleum on the grounds of the estate.
In 1902 the estate was sold to the ninth Duke of Manchester and the Henry family left Kylemore. The Duke and Duchess left Kylemore in 1914 after the death of the Duchess’ father.
In December 1920 a community of Benedictine nuns settled at Kylemore. They open an international boarding school and established a boarding school for local girls.
The nuns also ran a farm and a guesthouse. In 1959 a fire devastated the guest house and it was closed.
The Girl’s Boarding School remained open until 2010, then it too was closed by the nuns.
Since that time the nuns have been developing various educational and retreat activities.
If you enjoy architectural photography and history, a visit to Kylemore Abbey is certainly worth considering. It started raining quite heavily after we toured the castle and chapel which cut our visit short.
The estate also features a Victorian Walled Garden. Allowing a minimum of 2-3 hours to tour the castle, chapel and grounds is suggested.
If you enjoyed the photographs in this article that were captured with the Nikon 1 system, you may find our eBook, The Little Camera That Could, of interest. This eBook is available for purchase and download. It is priced at $9.99 Canadian. Readers interested in purchasing a copy can use the link below.
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Photographs were captured hand-held using camera gear as noted in the EXIF data. All images were produced from RAW files using my standard process.
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