On the last day of our Irish Rail Tour, we headed to Connemara and Kylemore Abbey. It was pouring down rain and cold, so, unfortunately, we did not get to see all of the sites on the route. But, we did manage to stay moderately dry. The Connemara region of Ireland primarily speaks their native Gaelic tongue.
We left Galway early and the morning and headed towards Connemara. Our first stop in Connemara was a visit to the Quiet Man Bridge. In the 1950s, John Wayne stared in the Quiet Man film. The Quiet Man film is considered one of the top 100 films ever made. The bridge is featured in the opening credits of the film when John Wayne’s character is dreaming of his youth. The bridge is a popular tourist destination for the region. The majority of the film was filmed in the region and a replica of the film’s cottage sits in the village of Maam Cross.
Kylemore Abbey and Gardens
By the time we reached Kylemore Abbey, it was lunchtime, and pouring down the rain! We opted to grab a quick lunch in the restaurant before hiking up to the Abbey. The Henry family build Kylemore Castle in 1868 to serve as their primary residence, the castle remained in the family until the early 1920s. Benedictine Nuns fleeing Belgium at the start of World War 1 purchased Kylemore and have owned and operated the property since then.
The nuns ran a opened a Catholic girls school on the property that closed in 2010. Since the Catholic school closing, the nuns have used the facility for a variety of education and retreat activities. The grounds of Kylemore have been home to the Kylemore Abbey Global Center, a branch of the University of Notre Dame since 2016.
Kylemore Abbey is well known for its 18th-century castle gardens. Unfortunately, due to the weather, we were unable to visit the gardens. The abbey also features a phenomenal gift shop that sells pottery made by the nuns as well as a variety of unique Connemara themed gifts.
Our tour continued along the shores of the Galway Bay and stopped at the villages of Inverin and Spidal. The Mountain views were incredible and mesmerizing.
- Amanda is a native of Richmond, VA. She enjoys writing, blogging, traveling, shopping, and spending time with friends and family.