Food in Tribute to Kylemore Abbey's Victorian History
Mitchell's Café at Kylemore Abbey
The Tea House by the Walled Garden
Henry's Express Coffee Shop
Be Swept Away in the Romance and History of the Abbey
Guided Tours of Kylemore and Its Grounds
The Victorian Walled Garden
Shopping at Kylemore Abbey
It’s no wonder that Kylemore Abbey is one of the West of Ireland’s most popular tourist attractions, this stunning country style manor, located in Connemara, Co. Galway proclaims the beauty, romance and sophistication of the Victorian era. Its fascinating history never fails to amaze those who visit its grounds.
This 33-bedroom abode was built in the late 19th century by British doctor Mitchell Henry, Kylemore Abbey, formerly known as Kylemore Castle was a testament of devotion to his beloved wife Margaret Henry, a native of Co. Down. This is proclaimed in the hands of the exquisitely carved angel that adorns the entrance of the castle, in which lies Margaret’s Coat of Arms. Visitors will also notice a recurrence of bird motifs, a favourite of Henry’s in which he and Margaret hoped that Kylemore would represent an idyllic nesting place for their burgeoning family. And so it did, until Mitchell sold the property in 1909 to the Duke and Duchess of Manchester. In 1920 Kylemore passed to its current owners and occupants, an Order of Benedictine nuns who fled World War 1 Belgium. From the then on the castle was known for its current name, Kylemore Abbey.
Kylemore Abbey is open to the public, who are invited to explore its restored ground floor rooms with all its Victorian elegance and grandeur. A lovely insight into one the most fascinating periods in historical time, enter through the oak panelled entrance hall before taking in the Drawing Room, a favourite of Margaret’s before visiting the Morning Room where the ladies of the house entertained visitors and pursued their various interests. One can’t help but picture finely dressed ladies at leisure, dining on light afternoon tea nibbles…
A centre point of Kylemore Abbey, is its stunning Victorian Walled Garden. These neatly manicured lawns packed full with countless amounts of beautiful flora are juxtaposed perfectly with the wildness and ruggedness of the surrounding Connemara landscape. Comprising of 6 acres, the Walled Garden is divided into two sections, the east side which features formal flowers and greenhouses and the west side which features a vegetable garden, fruit trees and a herbaceous garden. Well worth a visit for a family day out or for all those garden enthusiasts out there!
The excellence of Kylemore Abbey is equalled by its exceptional food offering, which makes tribute to Kylemore's Victorian history with its menu and food style. Expect to devour delicate quiches and mouthwatering desserts when eating on Kylemore grounds. The large variety of fresh seasonal food that’s grown in the Walled Garden is used to full effect across the menus at Kylemore Abbey’s various eateries. Mitchell’s Café, a self service café is the main dining area at Kylemore Abbey, visitors can expect a warm welcome and great tasting food in keeping with the traditions of the Benedictine Order. Lunch is served up in fine form when dining at Mitchells Café with all appetites easily catered for. For those looking for light bites, a range of soups are on hand to sate the hunger along with some delicious savoury scones.
For a more substantial feed, each day offers a variety of hot meals including tasty quiches with a choice of garden salads, some great tasting salmon and also a firm favourite with visitors, Irish Stew and baby potatoes. All dishes are accompanied by fresh salads and veggies locally sourced or from the Walled Garden where possible. Using locally sourced ingredients is of utmost importance to the team at Kylemore Abbey and you can be assured that their meat is 100% Irish and local. While many find the main course as the main attraction when dining out, the dessert offering at Kylemore may change your mind! Sample fluffy scones with fresh cream and jam, a decadent chocolate éclair and a fresh fruit and cream slice, among many other delightful creations…
A trip to the Tea House at Kylemore Abbey will make you feel like your having afternoon tea in a grand manor house. Perched beside the stunning Walled Garden, the tea room offers a variety of dining options from fresh homemade sandwiches, soup and nibbles to a more robust offering of homemade quiches served with a fresh garden salad. Freshly made sandwiches feature a variety of delicious ingredients, why not dig into a sandwich of Wicklow Brie, Roast Turkey and Slieve Bloom Cranberry Sauce or try the twist on the favourite ham and cheese sambo with the Limerick ham with Wicklow Brie and Mustard Mayo offering. Sweet treats await for those wanting to indulge. Well known bakes such as Lemon Drizzle and Carrot Cake never fail to please or visits during the summer will call for a taste of the rich strawberry cheesecake!
The food offering steps up a gear during the busy summer months as the team encourage their visitors to pack up a picnic created from the Henry’s Express Coffee House and enjoy the great outdoors of Kylemore Abbey. Henry’s Express Coffee House is open daily during the summer months from 11.00am to 5.00pm.
Shopping, believe it or not is also an option when visiting this beautiful Abbey. The Craft and Design Shop at Kylemore features a variety of items largely created by local craftsmen and artists that reflect the flora and fauna of Kylemore and the land surrounding it. This is the perfect place to pick up a memento of your time at the Abbey and there are gifts to suit all budgets. Make sure to pick up some chocolate handmade by the Benedictine Nuns themselves along with their sweet smelling handmade soap collections.
There is plenty to discover when planning a visit to this haven among the wilds of Connemara, so much more than what we can ever describe, so it’s up to you to now pack up the car and unearth all the wonders that Kylemore Abbey has to offer!