A wealthy London doctor, Mitchell Henry, had Kylemore Castle built as his private home in Connemara, County Galway. One hundred men labored from 1987 to 1871 to construct40,000 square foot castle. Its granite and limestone facade measures 142 feet wide, and has walls between two and three feet thick. There are more than 70 rooms, including 33 bedrooms, 4 bathrooms, 4 sitting rooms, a ballroom, billiard room, library, study, school room, smoking room, gun room and various offices and domestic staff residences for the butler, cook, housekeeper and other servants. A Gothic cathedral and family mausoleum containing deceased Mitchel family members and glorious gardens round out the estate.
The Duke and Duchess of Manchester purchased the estate in 1909, but eventually lost it over gambling debts. Irish Benedictine Nuns purchased the Abbey castle in 1920 after fleeing their bombed abbey in Ypres, Belgium in World War I. The nuns operated a Catholic boarding and day school for girls. The school closed in 2010.