Ballynakill BallynahinchCounty Galway

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Kylemore Abbey
Kylemore Abbey

Kylemore Abbey is located on the site of Kylemore Lodge in the civil parish of Ballynakill in County Galway on the Wild Atlantic Way.

Construction of Kylemore Abbey took place from 1864 to 1871.

It consists of a free standing house built on an irregular plan, designed by Samuel Ussher Roberts. A number of styles can be observed in the design of the building, with the most prominent being Gothic.

The Abbey's original function was as the private home of the Henry family. They purchased the land and ordered the construction of the building which is estimated to have required the employment of 100 men. 

In 1903 the Abbey was sold to the 9th Duke and Duchess of Manchester. This family were later forced to sell in order to pay off debts. It was then that the Benedictine Nuns took up residence at the Abbey and its religious connection was established. A seventeen bay, two storey block was added to the eastern end of the building to accomodate a school and a convent. A Catholic school for girls ran at the Abbey until 2010. Although the school is now closed, the Abbey continues to have strong ties with education as it is now partnered with the University of Notre Dame du Lac. 

Despite having changed hands and purpose multiple times, Kylemore Abbey has managed to retain its original charm and features. Both the building and the picturesque grounds on which it is situated have been maintained to an excellent standard. 

Today Kylemore Abbey welcomes large numbers of visitors all year round. Its dramatic lakeside location has made it a favourite amongst visitors to Ireland and a must see on any trip to the West. 



Inventory of Architectural Heritage Ireland VIEW SOURCE
Tourist Information Ireland VIEW SOURCE

Type of Building:

Landed Estate


  • I thought it had been sold to a non Irish person within the last ten years. Is this true?




    Sunday 31st January 2021, 01:18AM
  • Yes. It is beautiful both inside and outside. I took a photo of the Abby and have it displayed in my family room at home. Many people who have seen the photo ask me about it.


    Sunday 31st January 2021, 01:26AM
  • We visited Kylemore Abbey as part of a day trip from Galway a couple of years ago. We loved it and we're astounded by the size of the walled garden. One of our lasting memories was when we back to the car park to board our bus and we could hear a motorbike and peals of laughter. It was one of the nuns on the back of a large Harley Davidson motorcycle being driven around the car park by a one of a visiting motor cycle group. She was having a great time, laughing and waving, at the same time wearing her full habit with her veil streaming behind her.


    Sunday 31st January 2021, 09:41AM
  • This is a very interesting narrative in "Chronicles Insight – Kylemore Abbey" about Mitchell Henry and Margaret Vaughan and their iconic Irish home, Kylemore Abbey.

    There is an error in the narrative however, which notes that Henry Mitchell and Margaret Vaughan were married in 1852. The year 1852 is the year of marriage cited for Henry and Margaret in a Wikipedia submission. The couple were actually married in the Parish Church of St. Peter's, City of Dublin, on August 30, 1849. This information record comes from the marriage collection at the free website.

    At the time of marriage Mitchell Henry was of “full age,” meaning 21 years or older, and a bachelor. His occupation is “Surgeon.” His residence at the time of marriage is 5 Harley Street, London. His father is Alexander Henry whose occupation is M.P.

    The marriage record further shows that Margaret was a minor at the time of marriage and was a spinster. Her address is 5 Fortescue Terrace. Margaret’s father is George M. Vaughan, whose occupation is “Solicitor.”

    The clergyman who married Mitchell and Margaret by license was G.W. Tyrell. The witnesses to the marriage were Alexd. Henry and George Vaughan, who were likely the fathers of the groom and bride. The marriage is Number 38 in the church marriage register at:

    The St. Peter Civil Parish, Dublin, is featured in the Ireland Reaching Out Timeline at:

    The same information can be found in the 1837 edition of Lewis’s Topographical Dictionary of Ireland at:

    There is also a civil registration, or statutory marriage record for Mitchell and Margaret at, but this record is somewhat faded and includes the same information as the church record. But to view the statutory marriage record go to the link at:

    The announcement of the marriage of Mitchell Henry and Margaret Vaughan was printed in The Belfast News Letter of Tuesday Morning, September 4, 1849, 2nd column from the left, just under the birth announcements. In the paper’s marriage announcement however, the clergyman who married Mitchell and Margaret is J. W. Tyrell rather than G.W. Tyrell. The marriage announcement also notes that J.W. Tyrell was Margaret’s uncle, and that the residence of Margaret’s late father, George Vaughan in Dublin, had been Buckingham Street. The marriage announcement comes from at:


    According to an index from the FamilySearch website, Mitchell Henry was baptized in the Unitarian Church, Manchester, England, on 2 January 1827. His date of birth was 23 July, 1826. His parents were Alexander Henry and Elizabeth Brush. The FamilySearch index is below:

    England Births and Christenings, 1538-1975

    Name: Mitchell Henry
    Event Type: Christening
    Event Date: 2 Jan 1827
    Event Place: Manchester, Lancashire, England, United Kingdom
    Event Place (Original): Unitarian Church-Nc, Manchester, Lancashire, England
    Sex: Male
    Birth Date: 23 Jul 1826

    Father's Name: Alexr Henry
    Mother's Name: Elizth Brush

    Citing this Collection
    "England Births and Christenings, 1538-1975." Database. FamilySearch. : 6 January 2021. Index based upon data collected by the Genealogical Society of Utah, Salt Lake City.


    The FamilySearch website also shows that Margaret Vaughan was born on 7 October 1828 in Dromore, County Down. Her father is George Vaughan, her mother Mary Tyrell:

    Name: Margaret Vaughan
    Event Type: Birth
    Event Date: 7 Oct 1828
    Event Place: Dromore, County Down, Ireland
    Event Place (Original): Dromore Parish, Down, Ireland
    Sex: Female

    Father's Name: George Vaughan
    Mother's Name: Mary Tyrell

    Citing this Collection
    "Ireland Births and Baptisms, 1620-1881." Database. FamilySearch. : 18 March 2020. Index based upon data collected by the Genealogical Society of Utah, Salt Lake City.

    The clergyman who married Mitchell and Margaret, according to their civil marriage record, was G.W. Tyrell. The Belfast News Letter of September 4, 1849 noted earlier, mentions that the clergyman, J.W. Tyrell, was Margaret’s uncle, which means he would be the brother of Margaret’s mother, Mary Tyrell.


    A very nice and clear black and white 25 inch Ordnance Survey map from May 1897 shows the location of Kylemore Castle along the northwest shore of the Pollacappul Lough. The map comes from a GeoHive application and can be viewed in a round-about fashion by first going to:

    The page that downloads is the Historic Map Viewer. To access the historic black and white map, tick/click the almost invisible “Accept” box in the lower left of the viewer. Then tick “OK,” in the lower right corner of the viewer.

    On the GeoHive map that downloads, go to the upper right corner to the Basemap Gallery and click on Historic 25"

    The Chronicles Insight – Kylemore Abbey narrative mentions that Margaret Henry died in 1875. But, according to information about Margaret at the Find A Grave website, she actually died on 4 December 1874. The place of death was Cairo, El Qahira, Egypt.

    The epitaph on the mausoleum in Kylemore Abbey where Margaret and Henry are interred provides their dates of death. See:

    Also see the following information at the Find A Grave website:

    Dave Boylan


    Wednesday 3rd February 2021, 06:45PM

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