Connemara National Park & Kylemore Abbey

Travels

Thanks to our frequent pit stops at tourist centers and our handy-dandy free Ireland books, we decided heading to Connemara National Park  and Kylemore Abbey were a must. So, off we went!

The only downfall about the Connemara park was that two of the higher paths were closed for the day due to severe fog – you could barely see the hand in front of your face. Bummer! However, the bottom two paths were still open and we had a busy schedule for the day so we began walking.

Personally, I enjoyed the fog because I think it gave the landscape a sense of mystery behind it, you had no idea where it ended. Although, climbing up mountains in sheets of fog does not sound ideal, so I’m glad we stuck to the lower paths for the day. Plus, as always, there was plenty to see.

My favorite part of the park was the huge waterfall we came across while hiking the lower path. The sound of running water mixed with the greens of the summer trees and the burnt oranges and reds of the trees turning was pure perfection. We all were dead silent as we climbed the surrounding rocks and paths, just soaking it all in. Since we were unable to hike the higher paths, it was time to head to our next adventure… Kylemore Abbey.

In true Ireland fashion, the rain, chill and fog followed us to Kylemore Abbey and greeted us with open arms. At least it made for some neat photographs – very appropriate with Halloween around the corner!

Kylemore Abbey has a deep, rich and tragic history so I will give you the Reader’s Digest version. Kylemore Abbey was built as a gift from Mitchell Henry to his wife, Margaret in 1867. After a series of unfortunate events, the Henrys passed away and the castle switched hands among their children. In 1903 the castle was sold to the Duke and Duchess of Manchester. In 1920 the Irish Benedictine Nuns purchased the property and still own it to this day. Phew (and that’s the short version!).

We were able to go inside of the castle, but only the ground level was open for viewing. The rooms were all very lavish and over-decorated and picturesque. I wish more of the castle was open to see! The grounds were also amazing. The Abbey had gardens, shops, the lake, waterfalls, fisheries, churches, you name it.

Although we missed the gardens in full-bloom, what we saw was quite the sight. Above, is only one of the many different gardens on the grounds, but this was my favorite one. I definitely would not mind having this in my backyard! Plus something about that bare tree is intriguing. I love it.

On our way out, the skies began to clear and the castle became more visible from across the lake. My goal in life is to own this place one day. Fishing on the lake, living in a castle, personal gardeners, mountains in your backyard – Sounds good to me!

P.s. Please note that no people are in any of these photographs… at this point we had been living in a car for three days and were avoiding pictures at all costs. Classy.

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