Kylemore Abbey & Victorian Walled Garden (with Map & Photos)

If you visit the Connemara National Park in Ireland, surely during your tour you will save time to get to know Kylemore Abbey, because like the climb to Diamond Hill to enjoy the most beautiful views of Ireland, the visit to the Abbey from Kylemore and to the Stone of Wishes is considered a near-mandatory stop.

Kylemore Abbey Ireland
Kylemore Abbey Ireland

This abbey is situated at the foot of Kylemore Lake in the northern part of the Park near the town of Letterfrack. But before seeing it, enter and explore its surroundings, surely you will like to know the beautiful and at the same time sad history of Kylemore Abbey.

The visit to the Abbey is not free but the entrance costs 13 euros. Despite this price, admission includes access to the Victorian Garden, the Gothic Church and access to the forest around Kylemore Lake. In my opinion, it is a wonderful visit, which you will certainly enjoy when you visit Ireland.

The beautiful and sad story of Kylemore Abbey


In 1867, the Henry couple visited Connemara National Park during the fishing season to spend their holidays. They were a family of merchants who had become rich in Manchester. They were leisurely riding their horses when Margaret Henry said to Mitchell, " I love Connemara, make a home for me here, Mitchell." Mitchell replied, " I will not make you a house, my dear, I will make you a castle."

Kylemore Abbey Ireland
Kylemore Abbey Ireland

After 4 years of construction, Kylemore Castle was inaugurated. But Mitchell was not limited to the castle. In the typical Connemara bogs, where there is only grass and shrubs, he planted all the trees that made up the forests around Kylemore Lake and also hired gardeners to complete the Victorian Kylemore Garden.

What seemed like happy years for the family turned into bitter years when Margaret Henry died in 1874, and shortly after her infant daughter, Mitchell's favorite, passed away. All these tragedies embittered the lives of the rest of the family so they left Connemara.

They sold the castle, the garden and all their belongings to the Duke and Duchess of Manchester. They were not like the Henry marriage. They threw many parties and neglected the Garden and the surrounding forests. Shortly after they lost the Castle by gambling their property in a game of cards.

The castle was abandoned when the Benedictine nuns bought it for a symbolic price from the local people, half a century after it was built. They fixed it and turned it into an abbey and a girls' school. They also built the small Gothic-style church that is located around the Abbey. At present, all the land belongs to the Benedictine nuns and is used solely for tourism.

Victorian Gardens and the Stone of Wishes


Kylemore Abbey Ireland
Kylemore Abbey Ireland

After a short walk through the woods around Kylemore Lake we arrived at the Victorian Gardens. They are surrounded by a wall reminiscent of Japanese culture. They are very well cared for and are very beautiful. They also have three greenhouses, where there are plants that are very exotic for the Irish climate, such as palm trees or watermelons.

On the other hand, walking through the forest of the Lake, near the Gothic Church is the Stone of Desires. It is a gigantic rock in the shape of a triangle. A few meters away are 5 wooden fingers that come out from the ground. The legend says that you have to stand with your back to the Stone of Wishes, pick up a stone and throw it upwards. If you can make the pebble touch the vertex of the triangle, your wish is fulfilled.

Kylemore Abbey Ireland
Kylemore Abbey Ireland

In short, Kylemore Abbey is something impressive, and it is even more so when its history full of tragedies and love is known. Knowing the history of what was an ancient castle, seeing the sensational Victorian gardens and then trying to make your wishes come true in the legendary Stone, they are worth a visit, don't you think?

Kylemore Abbey & Victorian Walled Garden Map