Sunday, April 23, 2006

Kylemore Abbey

Kylemore Castle was built by Mitchell and Margaret Henry and took four years to complete (1867-1871). Mitchell had inherited a fortune from his father, a Manchester cotton merchant, and used the money to construct a magnificent castle, complete with a walled garden, paths, woods, and he developed the 13,000 acre Kylemore Estate. He was a good landlord respected by the local people whom he employed and whom he would represent in his political career. His good reputation was renowned and helped him to win a seat in the House of Commons.

The land was eventually sold and sold again etc... It is now the home of the Irish Benedictine nuns. Their income comes from tour groups and from a girl's boarding school run on-site. It is of international acclaim (and Madonna's daughter goes there).

The parklands are beautiful. We had the most beautiful sunny day that Ireland has seen all year. It was picture perfect serenity. There were school kids on tour sitting down by the lake, little oar boats bobbing on the water, birds singing in the woods. It was gorgeous. We only had an hour and a half there but it was the sort of place that with the right weather you wanted to spend a whole day there picnicking and reading a book by the lake.


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