Kylemore Abbey information
Photogenically perched on the shores of Pollacapall Lough, 4.5km east of Letterfrack, this crenulated 19th-century neo-Gothic fantasy was built for a wealthy English businessman, Mitchell Henry, who spent his honeymoon in Connemara. Only a selection of rooms are open to visitors, but you can wander down the lake to the Gothic church and admission includes the breathtaking and extravagant Victorian walled gardens , around a 20-minute walk away (or take the free shuttle bus, every 15 minutes). A formal composition in the wildness of Connemara, the gardens are sublime.
Run by Benedictine nuns, the abbey served as the Kylemore Abbey School from 1923 to 2010, teaching Catholic girls. There is a cafe and tea house on the grounds which also offer hikes and woodland walks. Kylemore's tranquillity is shattered in high summer with the arrival of dozens of tour coaches and an endless stream of cars.