Kylemore Abbey is located in a beautiful glaciated valley in Connemara, co. Galway. It was built in 1871 as a private residence for Manchester Industrialists Mitchell and Margaret Henry. They had come to this area from England on their honeymoon and were enchanted by the beauty of the landscape. It was the couple’s wish someday to own a home there and it is said that during those visits, the Henry’s rented Kylemore Lodge, the original building on this site. They commissioned James Franklin Fuller and Ussher Roberts to design an enormous gothic-styled fantasy castle. It covered 40,000 square feet, had over 70 rooms including 33 bedrooms, 4 bathrooms, 4 sitting rooms, a ballroom, a billiard room, a library, a study, a schoolroom, a smoking room, a gun room, and various offices..phew! The facade measured 142 feet in length and is made of granite brought from Dalkey by sea to Letterfrack and limestone from Ballinasloe. Sadly, in the mid-1870s, Mrs. Henry visited Egypt where she contracted a fever and soon died. She was buried here on the grounds and in her honor, a beautiful Gothic church was built. Not long after in 1902 it was sold to an American business. In 1920 it then was bought by a community of Benedictine nuns who fled from Ypres in Belgium at the start of WW1. They made Kylemore Castle their new home, changing it to Kylemore Abbey and founded a girl’s school here which they still run.