Galway, Ireland is home to one of the most haunted places in the Country, Kylemore Abbey. Come Explore its mystery with Haunted Journeys.
Kylemore Abbey is a Benedictine monastery founded in 1920 on the grounds of Kylemore Castle. It has served as a refuge for Benedictine nuns who fled Belgium during the First World War, while acting as an international boarding school for Catholic girls until June 2010. Their Victorian Gardens are spectacular. Nearby is Connemara National Park which covers some 7000 acres of mountains, bogs, heaths, and grasslands, with wildlife and scenic walking trails. Like any beautiful historical majestic building, the Kylemore Abbey (when it existed as the Kylemore Castle) has a history of tragedy, romance, education, and spirituality.
As you enter the front door of Kylemore Abbey you cannot help but notice the beautiful carved angel which guards over it. In the hands of that angel is the coat of arms of Margaret Henry’s birth family, the Vaughan’s of County Down. Margaret’s arms over the front door proudly proclaim this as her castle. Look more closely and you will also see charming carvings of birds which were a favorite motif of the Henry’s. The birds represented Henry’s hope that Kylemore would become the ‘nesting’ place of their family. At Kylemore Margaret, Mitchell and their large family enjoyed the outdoor life of the ‘Connemara Highlands’.
Margaret took on the role of the country lady and became much loved by the local tenants. Her passion for travel and eye for beauty was reflected in the sumptuous interiors where Italian and Irish craftsmen worked side by side to create the ‘family nest’. Sadly the idyllic life did not last long for the Henrys. In 1874 just a few years after the castle was completed, the Henry family departed Kylemore for a luxurious holiday in Egypt. Margaret was struck ill while traveling and despite all efforts, nothing could be done and after two weeks of suffering she died. She was 45 years old and her youngest daughter, Violet, was just two years old. Mitchell was heartbroken. Margaret’s body was beautifully embalmed in Cairo before being returned to Kylemore.
According to local lore, Margaret lay in a glass coffin which was placed beneath the grand staircase in the front hall, where family and tenants alike could come to pay their respects. In an age when all funerals were held in the home, this is not as unusual as it may first seem. In time Margaret’s remains were placed in a modest red-brick mausoleum in the woodlands of her beloved Kylemore. In 1878 work began on the neo-Gothic Church which was built as a beautiful and lasting testament to Henry’s love for his wife. Margaret’s remains were, for some reason, never moved to the vaults beneath the church and to this day she lays along with Mitchell in the little Mausoleum nestled in the woods. The Kylemore Abbey has a history of tragedy, romance, education, and spirituality. It has a 6-acre Victorian walled garden, beautiful lakeshore walks, neo-Gothic Church, and a Mausoleum where Mitchell and Margaret Henry are buried side by side.
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