The fifth day of our 11th day jaunt through Ireland found us travelling through County Galway and taking time out to see the magnificent Kylemore Abbey, the beautiful walled Kylemore gardens and the breathtaking views of the Connemara.
The Story Behind Kylemore Abbey
I didn’t know much about Kylemore before we stopped there other than it was gorgeous but the story behind it was quite romantic if not sad. Englishman Mitchell Henry built Kylemore as a castle and a private home. His wife had fallen in love with the Connemara area on their honeymoon. Sparing no expense, Henry built the 40,000 square foot, 70 bedroom castle for his wife. Unfortunately, she only got to live at Kylemore for four years before dying from a fever.
It was rumored that King Edward VII wanted to purchase the castle. However, he ultimately decided that the property was too pricey for a king. Yes, I will say that again. The Kylemore property was too pricey for a King! In 1920, the Benedictine nuns took over Kylemore and converted it into a school. Sadly, it finally closed one year prior to our visit due to monetary constraints.
The Walk to the Walled Gardens
While Kylemore Abbey was beautiful, it seemed slightly austere. The outside of the Abbey however told a different story. Against the backdrop of the Connemara mountains, the area leading from the Abbey to the Gardens were enchanting.
It was so exciting to come across interactive art pieces along our trek.
The Kylemore Gardens
An Irish donkey (or small horse, we couldn’t tell) welcomed us to one of the most amazing gardens we have every seen. At one point I thought we had made it through the entire garden only to find out we were only halfway through. Half of the Kylemore garden was a usable herb garden, prompting me to take hundreds of pictures due to great illusions of grandeur involving me and my future herb garden (spoiler alert: 7 years later I haven’t done a thing to make an herb garden).
I also found more of my new obsession… bog!