It all began with a romantic honeymoon visit to the beautiful lakeside at Connemara in Ireland in 1850. This area of natural outstanding beauty captured the hearts of Mitchel Henry and his new bride Margaret Vaughan. Margaret fell in love with place and so Henry, in an incredibly romantic gesture, purchased the 15,000 acre estate as gift for her and went on to create one of the Republic of Ireland’s most treasured and iconic castles in her honor.
The couple went on to have an impressive nine children and enjoyed a carefree, charmed existence in their amazing home. Unfortunately tragedy stuck on a holiday to Egypt in 1874 when Margaret contracted dysentery on a train journey to Cairo. She died a mere 16 days later, having never reached her holiday destination.
Margaret’s body was returned to the castle in Connemara and entombed in a specially built mausoleum, which still stands in the castle grounds. An impressive Neo–Gothic Church described as “a cathedral in miniature” was built on the state by Henry as a heartfelt, lasting memorial to his beloved wife.
Kylemore Abbey is currently home to a community of Benedictine nuns who arrived after the destruction of their own Abbey in Ypres, Belgium, which was destroyed in WW1. The Benedictine Community opened a boarding school for girls and began restoration work on the Abbey, Neo-Gothic Church and stunning formal gardens, which have been beautifully restored and are currently open to visitors.