Nestled deep into the heart of the west of Ireland, Kylemore Abbey is one of Irelands most breath-taking locations. Kylemore Castle was built by Mitchell Henry in 1867 as gift for his wife Margaret following their honeymoon after being mesmerised by the beauty of the local landscapes.
Along with the castle, Mitchell Henry also built the Victorian walled gardens. The castle was completed in 1871 but unfortunately three years later his beloved wife Margaret passed away. After the passing of his wife Mitchell Henry lost interest in Kylemore and with the up keep costs being so expensive Mitchell Henry decided to sell. In 1903 the estate was sold to the Duke & Duchess of Manchester.
The glamourous couple owned Kylemore for ten years but unfortunately for them after a strike of misfortune the couple went bankrupt and had to sell the estate. The estate laid empty for seven years until the Benedictine community purchased the estate. On the 4th of December 1920 the Benedictine Nuns arrived in Kylemore.
Ora et Labora – Prayer and Work is the key ethos of the Benedictine Nuns
After arriving in Kylemore the Benedictine Nuns got to work, they opened a boarding school in 1923, that first accepted international boarders of all ages but later it became a secondary school and also began accepting local day pupils. The boarding school ran up until the closure in 2010.
After the closure of the girls school in 2010 the Home Economics kitchen had become vacant, leading to Sr. Genevieve Harrington to get a great idea, a chocolate kitchen! To get the ball rolling Sr. Genevieve Harrington enrolled in a chocolate making course and after completion set up a small chocolate venture in Kylemore.
In the beginning all the chocolate was hand tempered by Sr. Genevieve. She made an array of delicious chocolate bars and individual chocolates. As you can imagine they were very popular, and Sister Genevieve became very busy very quickly. In an effort to meet the demands of the orders, Sr. Genevieve enrolled the help of other lay workers to further advance the chocolate making. Over the years the Chocolate kitchen has welcomed nuns and Volunteers from around the world to learn the art of chocolate making under the guidance of Sr. Genevieve and the other Chocolatiers, thus continuing the tradition of education and hospitality in Kylemore abbey.
Today the chocolate kitchen is thriving producing a combination of Sr. Genevieve's original delicious chocolates and some newer innovative tasty treats. Kylemore Abbeys handmade chocolate has enjoyed great success so far and hopefully this success will continue in the future.
Following their popularity this Easter, the Lambs are back. This time, the Kylemore Lamb will carry a trademark "K" and will be available all year - with some seasonal friends joining the flock from time to time.