Friday Lens Affair 190

Kylemore Abbey Cathedral Ireland

This Friday I’m hosting a great picture of Kylemore Abbey Cathedral in Ireland taken by Carol Guttery from Wayfaring Views Blog.

Carol is the travel photographer and Chief Wordsmith for the Wayfaring Views travel website.

She’s quite the contrarian and she’s always encouraging her readers to go beyond the obvious with alternative itineraries to interesting cultures and oddball attractions.

Her recent travels have included hiking the 185 million-year-old Jurassic Coast in England, chasing down weird museums in Shoreditch London and finding crazy street art in Havana. Follow her on Twitter and Instagram.

Photo Story: Kylemore Abbey Cathedral, Ireland

I visited Kylemore Abbey while on a two-day road trip around Galway in northwestern Ireland.

Coming off a tiring stretch of travel which included one helluva hike and then a bustling conference. I was really enjoying taking the slow road to explore the coastline and historical sites in the area.

Kylemore Abbey is a historical jewel located on the Connemara loop. It’s perched on a patch of sylvan wood with its own small lake and views of the nearby Connemara national park.

Kylemore has a very romantic history. It was built by Irish Parliament member Mitchell Henry as a grand Victorian experiment.

He built the estate as his home but he also ran the grounds and garden as a sort of model farm.

He built a huge Victorian walled garden including glasshouses heated with new-fangled steam heating, grounds reforested with native trees and on-site hydropower Henry loved his wife very much and as a big romantic gesture, he built her a perfect little cathedral…like a gothic dollhouse but at human scale.

After he died, the estate evolved into a Benedictine convent, and then a school before becoming the tourist site that it is today.

Photographing a place like Kylemore is tricky because it’s popular with the bus tour crowd and I found myself having to wait (im)patiently for the slow-moving mob to swim by before I could frame up the shot.

One thing that makes this shot so evocative is that everyone’s inner Cinderella is inspired by the grand building and romantic wooded setting.

There’s that little six-year-old girl inside of you wondering if you could be happily ever after there.

I also like this shot because the grey stone of the Abbey really stands out against the wooded hill behind it.

It’s almost as if the scene is a painting in progress and the woods have been filled in but the building is unfinished.

There are a lot of romantic spots like this in Ireland and I look forward to returning there and finding more inspiration for my inner Cinderella.

Kylemore Abbey (Irish: Mainistir na Coille Móire) is a Benedictine monastery founded in 1920 on the grounds of Kylemore Castle, in Connemara, County Galway, Ireland.

The abbey was founded for Benedictine Nuns who fled Belgium in World War I.

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