Supporting Kylemore Abbey

The NJAOH has been asked to help support an Irish landmark, the Kylemore Abbey. Information on this initiative is provided below.

You know the iconic postcard images of Ireland: the Cliffs of Moher at sunset; the forceful Statue of Daniel O’Connell in front of the G.P.O in Dublin; the Giant’s Causeway on a glorious summer evening. And there is also that photograph of the Castle in North West Co. Galway, sitting by the lake with the sheer drop of a mountain’s edge behind it. What a magnificent structure it must be. (Link to Images)

That structure is the famous Kylemore Abbey, but sadly, its structure and its long standing educational purpose are in sore need of investment and redevelopment.

Originally built in the 19th Century by Mitchell Henry, Kylemore Abbey was purchased by the Benedictine Nuns in 1920 that moved from Ypres, Belgium because the Abbey at Ypres was destroyed during the First World War.
The Abbey at Ypres, Belgium was founded in 1665 to accommodate Irish and British women who fled religious suppression in Ireland and Britain. Indeed, in 1682, the Ypres Abbey was transferred to the Irish nation and, in 1688, the Benedictine Nuns moved to Dublin. However, following the Battle of the Boyne in 1690, understandably, the Benedictine Nuns returned to Ypres, Belgium. When the Benedictines Nuns established Kylemore Abbey in 1920, it was a fitting acknowledgment of the Irish influence on the Order through the years.

At Kylemore (An Choill Mhóir – The Large Woodland), the Benedictines continued with their tradition of educating and empowering women by establishing a world renowned boarding school for girls. Though famous for its education, the Benedictines closed the boarding school in 2010.
Like many Orders throughout the world, the Benedictines and their Abbey at Kylemore are adjusting in an ever changing world. To meet the challenges and to thrive in the modern world, the Benedictines at Kylemore Abbey have launched a major development program that will ensure the future of Benedictine Nuns at Kylemore Abbey. Among the projects for which funds are being raised for are the following projects:

  • A New Monastery: The Benedictines hope to construct a new stand-alone monastery for the nuns that will allow guests to join the nuns in prayer
  • A New Community Church: The former gymnasium is being converted to a community chapel where groups came spend time in silence or join the nuns in worship.
  • A New Education Center: In keeping with the historical education ethos of the Benedictines, a new education center will be built. It is envisioned that church groups and colleges, both in Ireland and internationally, will come to Kylemore and its inspiring environs to learn and teach.
  • Restoration of the Castle: The Castle is in need of repair. The character and features of the principal rooms are in need to restoration.

In January 2013, in an effort to raise funds, a New York Chapter of “Friends of Kylemore Abbey” was established. The Chapter has been inviting Irish-Americans throughout the country to help promote and support the initiative for Kylemore Abbey.

On December 18, 2013, Julie Feeney, the Irish singer, composer who has been described by the New York Times as brainy, flamboyant, theatrical and adventurous, will be performing at the residence of the Consul General in support of Kylemore Abbey, with limited space available for the friends and supports of the Kylemore Abbey project. Undoubtedly, supporting Kylemore Abbey will be a worthwhile and satisfying experience.

If you have an interest in joining this initiative, please visit or email Domhnall Ó’Catháin at [email protected]