Monday, October 1, 2012

irish road trip #3: kylemore abbey

Day 2 

 We left our hotel in Galway and in reaction to the hectic day before, we decided to play it cool. Nothing planned, just follow our hearts' desire. We drove through Connemara, the road along the lakes. It was breath-taking: so many lakes and sheep and fields and stoney walls and round-shaped mountains (you can see some pictures from Connemara on my first post). It was a little frustrating because the roads in Ireland are quite narrow, making it near to impossible to stop along the road to admire the view. Every time we saw a tiny parking place, we screamed but they weren't as many as we wanted. 
At lunch time, we managed to find a quiet spot on the shore of a lake to have a little picnic in company of a very friendly dog. So, so peaceful.
We continued on this very relaxed pace until the evening, it was time to find accommodation. We settled on a guesthouse in the tiny town of Letterfrack (this one - highly recommend it, the staff were very friendly), we went to a pub and looked at the stars for ages. They were so numerous (it always amazes the city girl in me).

Day 3

 It wasn't an accident that we stopped in Letterfrack. The town is next to the Kylemore Abbey and we both terribly wanted to visit the place in the morning. We had an inkling it would be beautiful, from seeing pictures on the internet, but the place is truly majestic. We squealed when we caught sight of the abbey across the lake from our car. The entrance fee (12.5€) seemed a bit steep at first but it is truly worth it. The abbey is only partially open to the public and the inside is not as grandiose as the outside but it was interesting to get to know about the founders of the place. 
The abbey, originally a castle, was built by an English man, Henry Mitchell at the end of 19th century as a place to live with his wife. They had 9 children (!!) and they were terribly in love. Unfortunately, the wife, Margaret died of dysentery during a trip to Egypt. Henry was inconsolable, he built a mausoleum and a church in hommage of his spouse (you can visit them too).
During WWI, Belgian Nuns who were fleeing the country bought the property, turned it into an abbey and a boarding school for girls (imagine studying there...). They still own the place nowadays and live thanks to tourism and donations. They also sell their home-made products (pottery, soaps, etc...) in the souvenir shop.
My favourite part of the visit was the gardens (quelle surprise!). They actually are the largest Victorian walled gardens in Ireland. The house of the head gardener is a must-see!
We ate lunch on the terrace near the gardens and got back in the car as a long road awaited us. We needed to head far North for our next stop: County Donegal... Another adventure that calls for another post, until then, toodle-oo!


Célestine Causette said...

Fichtre, c'est bigrement magnifique! On se croirait dans un film, ça donne trop envie!

moira said...

à fond, ils devraient y faire un downton abbey à l'irlandaise! Tu regardes la nouvelle saison <3 ? x

Eatlovemerry said...

Beautiful photos, loving the first photo so much!

moira said...

thank you <3 (you have such a cute blog) x

Célestine Causette said...

Bien sûr, je suis à fond dans la saison 3, quel pied! :)

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