Hi everyone, My name is Ciara and today I am writing about one of my favourite attractions in Ireland - Kylemore Abbey.
Kylemore Abbey is situated just outside Letterfrack in Connemara in Co. Galway. The Abbey is known for its beautiful structure and Victorian Walled Gardens. It was built in the late 1800s and plays a significant role in a fairytale like love story between Mitchell Henry MP and his wife Margaret (all of which is shown in a short movie in the Abbey).
Above: Close up of Kylemore Abbey on Scratchable Map Ireland
What is there to do at Kylemore Abbey?
Kylemore Abbey is situated beside Pollacapall Lough. When you first enter the grounds there is a stunning view of the Abbey overlooking the lake.
I usually start my visit by taking a tour of the Abbey. And I usually start my tour by going into the cinema like room on the left hand side of the door. In this room there is a movie played on continuous loop that gives you an overview of the history of the Abbey. It really is quite interesting and you will be shocked when you find out how much the Abbey was built for.
After this, I head back out to the entrance and take a wander around the rooms in the Abbey. Unfortunately you only get to see a very small amount of the Abbey but you still get a great feel of what it may have been like in the 1800s.
In its most recent years, Kylemore Abbey was a boarding school for girls. As part of the tour you can read all about what it would have been like to board at Kylemore. They also show what your school uniform would have looked like too.
Although the Abbey is the main attraction. I personally prefer visiting the Gardens and/or neo-gothic church.
As you exit the Abbey, the neo-gothic church is only a short walk to your left. This walk is along the lake and really makes for some beautiful Connemara scenery. It’s a very peaceful place. Once I get to the church I usually admire it for a little bit, go inside, walk around, light a candle, have a moments silence to myself and then carry on exploring.
Up next is the Gardens. To get to the Gardens you walk back to the Abbey and can continue to walk to the Gardens or get the shuttle bus that will bring you out to them.
The Gardens are magnificent. They are pristine with so many flowers in every colour and feature an amazing vegetable garden too. You could easily pass an hour or two walking around the gardens poking your head in and out of the greenhouses, the fairy garden the little old fashioned houses and sheds.
The important stuff
Is there parking?
Yes and it’s free.
How much are the tickets?
Tickets into the Abbey and gardens are €14 for adults and children under 10 go FREE. There are family tickets available and if you book online via this link you can get a 10% discount.
Distance from Galway City?
Roughly 1 hour and 20 minutes.
Attractions close to Kylemore Abbey
As I mentioned, Kylemore Abbey is just outside of Letterfrack which is known for being the home of GMITs furniture design and wood technology college as well as the Connemara National Park.
If you have time to spare I would 100% recommend visiting the National Park. There is a great park for the kids to play in as well as very cute nature trails and of course, Diamond Hill.
My two top tips for visiting this part of Connemara are:
- Climb Diamond Hill. It’s not as bad as it looks as there is a well laid out path majority of the way. If I can do it you definitely can. Lol. At the top of the ‘hill’, you get a breathtaking 360 view of Connemara, including, Kylemore Abbey. In my opinion, from the top of diamond hill is one of the best ways to see the Abbey. It is 6.7km from top to bottom and took me around 2.5 hours. But this including many pit stops to take in the view plus a full photoshoot at the top. ;)
- If you don’t fancy climbing Diamond Hill, then I would recommend doing the Ellis Wood Nature Trail. Given that this is so small it is often overlooked but I think it is one of the nicest parts of the park. A mere 0.5km, the walk isn’t as easy as it looks as it features a lot of steep steps. But it is totally worth it to see the flowers, insect hotels and waterfall.
After all that sightseeing and walking/hiking you are bound to be hungry. Both Kylemore and the national park have cafes, and Letterfrack does offer a range of eateries but if you have the time, I recommend driving to Tullycross to visit Paddy Coynes. Tullycross is only a 6 min drive from Letterfrack and the food in Paddy Coynes award winning pub is well worth the drive.
An 8 min drive from Paddy Coynes is the most stunning beach in all of Connemara, Lettergesh. The perfect way to finish the day is to watch the sunset on Lettergesh beach.
So, no matter if you are a family, group of friends or couple, Kylemore Abbey is a must see on your tour of stunning Connemara. For more about Connemara and where to visit, check out my blog on www.sliceofciara.com.
Slice of Ciara
Slice of Ciara is a personal blog written by Ciara Geraghty. Ciara is a Galway native and her family own a mobile home on Connemara Caravan and Camping Park in Lettergesh which she has been visiting for over 16 years. She knows the area well and still loves spending as much of her summer exploring Connemara. Check out her blog www.sliceofciara.com for more travel guides and follow her on Instagram (@sliceofciara).