Ireland: Kylemore Abbey

It takes about an hour to get from Galway city to Kylemore Abbey in the heart of beautiful Connemara.

It was misting the day we visited, and the gray skies reinforced the tracery of a fairy-tale castle against rugged hills. We couldn’t help being moved by the romance of this place, with its small Gothic cathedral and mausoleum, and the poignant history behind them.

And we had a good time roaming through the six-acre Victorian Walled Garden. It was hard to believe it had once been a bog. Today it is a retreat grounded in wide sweeps of lawn. We saw long beds of perennials, vegetables on tuteurs, espaliered nut trees, an herb garden, the old glass houses that once grew tropicals, and mini-copses of shrubs and trees. Lots of unknowns, but we delighted in seeing some plants from our own gardens: freesia, hydrangea, meadowsweet spirea, eryngium, and roses and daisies!

With every view the old walls reminded us that no mountain will ever trespass on this garden, but bright blue doors opened to inviting woodlands on the other side. A walk for a brighter day, perhaps.

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