Monday, March 1, 2021

Kylemore Abbey Gardens


 From Country Life:

Thanks to the determination of the resident community of Benedictine nuns, the eight-acre garden at Kylemore Abbey Gardens in Connemara, Ireland, has been restored. Once lockdown lifts, visitors can once again enjoy a Victorian survival in an extraordinary setting. Mary Hackett paid a visit; photographs by Zara Napier.

The magnificent Kylemore Castle in Connemara in the west of Ireland was built by Manchester-born Mitchell Henry, a Harley Street eye surgeon and pathologist who became the Liberal MP for Co Galway and much-loved landlord. Intended as an elaborate tribute to his wife, Margaret, the castle sheltered the growing family until 1902, when it was bought by the 9th Duke of Manchester. It was turned into an abbey when a community of Benedictine nuns, shelled out of their Ypres convent in 1914, settled here in 1920. The nuns have remained to this day and, in 1995, thanks to their efforts, work started on the restoration of the original Victorian walled garden.

Still looking today much as it did when it was built, the castle has as its background the sessile oak and rhododendron that wrap Dúchruach mountain and, on a sunny day, its reflection gleams in the black water of Lough Pollacapul, exactly as Irish architect James Franklin Fuller had intended — the view the  Henrys saw on honeymoon in the 1840s. (Read more.)


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