Photography, Road trips

The walled Victorian garden at Kylemore Abbey

When you’re a wealthy family living in remote Irish country in the late 1800s, your estate has to be entirely self-sufficient, providing for all of the family’s needs. Mitchell and Margaret Henry, who built and lived at Kylemore Castle in the lush hills of Connemara, County Galway, created just that on their sprawling estate. They piped water down to the castle from a lake higher up on the mountain, and used running water to generate electricity. They also grew flowers, and most of their own food, within a six-acre garden surrounded by a brick wall.

Victorian Walled Garden at Kylemore Abbey

A long walk along a lovely tree-lined lane brings you to this entrance, where inside you’ll find a vast, precisely designed flower garden.

Victorian Walled Garden at Kylemore Abbey

This being a working garden, we found people tending it. It hasn’t always been so, however. It was in full production during the Henry family’s years. By the 1940s the flower garden was disused and the vegetable garden was in declining use as it was less expensive to buy vegetables. By the 1970s the entire six acres were badly overgrown and all structures were derelict. It was restored in 2000, driven I’m sure by tourism.

Victorian Walled Garden at Kylemore Abbey

In the Henry family’s day, people who worked the garden lived in this charming little home.

Victorian Walled Garden at Kylemore Abbey

A stream divides the garden. West of the stream is the “kitchen garden” where vegetables grow.

Victorian Walled Garden at Kylemore Abbey

As you can see, a great deal of attention has been paid to the garden’s aesthetics. It’s a charming place to stroll.

Victorian Walled Garden at Kylemore Abbey

It’s also a charming place to sit and contemplate.

Victorian Walled Garden at Kylemore Abbey

Because the view from here is just lovely. And as we were here near the end of the site’s tour hours, it was quiet.

Victorian Walled Garden at Kylemore Abbey

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