COVID 19       During this difficult time for us all, we have decided to continue providing Tour Services.    Our vehicles are always regularly serviced and cleaned but we are taking extra precautions during The Corona Virus outbreak.  All the vehicle door handles, seat belts, and other points of contact are being sanitized before, during, and after each tour.  Sanitized wipes will be provided for you in our vehicles.    We understand, and appreciate, that many people will have justifiable reservations about booking a tour and yet want to be able to tour with us on arrival in Ireland so we are making temporary changes to our booking arrangements.  We are only taking a deposit of €75 regardless of the size of the vehicle or the duration of the tour. For bookings made now that subsequently need to cancel because of Corona Virus, we will refund 95% of the deposit provided we receive a minimum of 72 hours notice of cancellation. We will make the refund of 95% to you, or at your discretion hold the full deposit against a future booking.

The history of Kylemore is the history of two homes - Kylemore Castle and Kylemore Abbey - and of two communities; the community within and the community without. The period covered is from 1862 when Mitchell Henry first took possession of Kylemore right to the present day.

Kylemore Castle was built by Mitchell Henry for his family and friends but carrying with it a community of 125 tenants. The two communities were from the start interlocked, their fate intertwined. Out of two changes in ownership came a very particular community; the community of Benedictine Nuns. The transformation from a private home to Abbey took many years to achieve and tremendous dedication and determination on the part of the Benedictine Nuns. Under the Nuns the tenants won their land and were given the opportunity for further education and employment.

The story of Kylemore - both Castle and Abbey - is a truly remarkable story. The twists of fate which have marked its history at crucial moments from its inception, the crises and moments of sadness which its occupants have Ariel Kylemoreendured, and the inspiring examples of courage and resilience which have marked their response to various challenges, combine to constitute a rich historical mosaic.

The genius of the place itself - with its wild beauty and its remoteness - is crucial to any understanding of the human stories of Kylemore. The habitat has provided a sense of peace, and a site of prayer and contemplation, for the founding family, for the Benedictine Nuns, their pupils, and their friends, and for countless visitors for over one hundred and forty years.

 

Walled Gardens

The Victorian Walled Garden, situated 1.6 km (1 mile) from the Abbey, is 3.4 hectares (8.5 acres) in extent, 2.4 hectares (6 acres) of which are completely enclosed by a brick and limestone wall. The garden was constructed at the same time as the Castle and was laid out by the head gardener, James Garnier. The glasshouses were designed by Cranstons of Birmingham. These could be walked through from end to end and acted as a winter garden for the ladies on wet days. The glasshouses were heated by three boilers, one of which doubled as a limekiln, and a complex system of underground hot-water pipes, 4.8 kilometers (3 miles) in extent. Two of the glasshouses have recently been restored, along with the Head Gardener’s House and workman’s Bothy.

 

The garden provided flowers, fruits, and vegetables for the Henry family. However, under the ownership of the Duke and Duchess of Manchester and Ernest Fawke, it went into decline. Nuns re-employed a Head Gardener until the 1940s. In the 1950s, Sr. Benedict took charge and kept the garden working for as long as was financially possible. In time, the flower garden became a wilderness and the glasshouses collapsed, leaving only their brick base. The Garden was re-opened by the nuns in 2000.

 

"Jim was punctual, kind, knowledgeable, and very perceptive in his ability to know just what would appeal to us as a group. While Jim did the driving, we were able to see fantastic scenery. We went places we never would have found, heard unique stories and had a fabulous day!"

Liz D., New Jersey, USA

 

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Satisfying the customer 

Over the years we have had several compliments on our drivers from many of our satisfied customers. Click on the link to "Tripadvisor" below to read, in full, the reviews of some of our many happy customers.

"We have travelled quite a bit and taken many tours. This tour is top notch and Jim is a master tour guide. And yes, we fed gorgeous Connemara ponies and adorable donkeys. It's incredible value, makes a great use of your time and is like hanging out with an old friend."

Mfarquar, Massachusetts, USA

 

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IRELAND WEST TOURS

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