‘History of Kylemore Castle & Abbey is an absolute enthralling read which will suit not only those who have an interest in this tranquil Connemara oasis but in the general Connemara region and the history of this area over the last century and a half…The author presents as fine a synopsis of the intricacies of politics and history of the time as one could come across while never straying too far from the kernel of her subject, Kylemore … an entertaining and eminently well-written and produced volume … I’ll conclude by simply recommending it as highly as possible and congratulating the author on a job very well done.’
‘A detailed history of the place now known throughout the world … thoroughly researched and expertly written book … by the knowledgeable author … The book is profusely illustrated and foot-noted.’
‘Forays by the author into the minutiae of the political scene of the day help make this book a fascinating read… Villiers-Tuthill is to be commended for her admirable research in this book and there’s a sense throughout that this project has been a joy to her … her information is well presented, with many photographs and illustrations throughout … for anyone interested in social history and Irish politics in the late 1800s, this is a fine read.’
‘Her latest publication is a superb work of research and presentation and is an engrossing read…The book contains a wealth of background knowledge set against the prevailing conditions of the time in this region of Connemara.’
The history of Kylemore is the history of two homes - Kylemore Castle and Kylemore Abbey - and of two communities; the community within and the community without. The period covered is from 1862 to 2002, from the time Mitchell Henry first took possession of Kylemore right to the present day.
Kylemore Castle was built by Mitchell Henry for his family and friends, but carrying with it a community of 125 tenants. The two communities were from the start interlocked, their fate intertwined. Out of two changes in ownership came a very particular community; the community of Benedictine Nuns. The transformation from private home to Abbey took many years to achieve and tremendous dedication and determination on the part of the Benedictine Nuns. Under the Nuns the tenants won their land and were given the opportunity for further education and employment.
The story of Kylemore - both Castle and Abbey - is a truly remarkable story. The twists of fate which have marked its history at crucial moments from its inception, the crises and moments of sadness which its occupants have endured, and the inspiring examples of courage and resilience which have marked their response to various challenges, combine to constitute a rich historical mosaic.
The genius of the place itself - with its wild beauty and its remoteness - is crucial to any understanding of the human stories of Kylemore. The habitat has provided a sense of peace, and a site of prayer and contemplation, for the founding family, for the Benedictine Nuns, their pupils and their friends, and for countless visitors during the past one hundred and forty years.