What an amazing few weeks!! My last blog post was short, but it summed up the stressful couple weeks I had. Dealing with end of the semester projects and papers, and then quickly jumping right into 5 finals, definitely was not a fun couple weeks!! But soon after I was able to fly home and spend an awesome 10 days with family and friends. I am extremely fortunate and blessed with the best family and some of the best friends!
After spending those 10 days at home in Pennsylvania, my entire family (Mom, Dad, and sisters) flew back to Ireland with me, which made the transition so much easier!!! We flew in early on Jan. 2nd and began our week-long venture together. Within that week we saw so many amazing things. We rented a car which made travel easier and we were able to do so much!!! One of my favorite things that we did together was going to the Kylemore abby mansion and the Victorian walled gardens. First the estate is breathtaking. It is the biggest house I have probably ever seen. I mean it was enormous!!! In the actual house itself, there is a self guided tour about the history of the mansion and the family that lived there many many years ago. Aside from the mansion, on the estate there is also a church that the family, workers, nuns, etc., would attend. Most of the buildings, including the mansion & church have been through renovations, so they aren’t exactly similar to what it was really like, but it was still awesome to see and physically be there!!
Now the gardens were beautiful. Very well kept, and you can tell the amount of dedication and passion that are put into these gardens and the handwork so many people have put in. I felt when I walked into the gardens that I was apart of royalty!!! Just so alluring, pictures do not do it justice.
While we were leaving the estate we noticed that within the upcoming years, they are building a modern monastery for the nuns that currently live there. A little side history, the castle was built in 1868 for the family of Mitchell Henry, who was a doctor from London. The castle took 4 years to complete and it took a total of 100 men to do the job!!! It consists of 33 bedrooms, 4 bathrooms, 4 sitting rooms, a ballroom, billiard room, library, study, school room, smoking room, gun room and various offices and staff residences (it gives off the game Clue vibe). After the death of the family and the force sell from the Duke of Manchester, the Irish Benedictine nuns purchased the castle. Here they began to teach young catholic girls and continue to do so today.
All in all, the place is beautiful and I strongly recommend it to anyone that is traveling throughout Ireland!