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Kylemore Abbey is the oldest of the Irish Benedictine Abbeys. The Community of nuns, who have resided here since 1920, have a long history stretching back almost three hundred and forty years.
Founded in Ypres, Belgium, in 1665, the house was formally made over to the Irish nation in 1682.

The purpose of the Abbey at Ypres was to provide an education and religious community for Irish women during times of persecution here in Ireland.


Down through the centuries, Ypres Abbey attracted the daughters of the Irish nobility, both as students and postulants, and enjoyed the patronage of many influential Irish families living in exile.

At the request of King James II the nuns moved to Dublin in 1688. However, they returned to Ypres following James’ defeat at the Battle of the Boyne in 1690.

The Community finally left Ypres after their Abbey was destroyed in the early days of World War I.

The Community first took refuge in England and later in Co Wexford, before eventually settling in Kylemore in December 1920. At Kylemore, the nuns reopened their international boarding school and established a day school for local girls.

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