Kylemore Abbey 

 

Kylemore Abbey是個古字,原指「大樹林」,它背山面湖,風景優美,我到訪那日天晴風靜,大宅倒照湖中,美絕塵世。

 

這個大宅建於1867年至1871年,大宅主人是Mitchell & Margaret Henry夫婦,Mitchell Henry是愛爾蘭人,早年在英國從事紡織,遷至大宅後,積極從政,為Galway代表議員,育有九名子女。

 

大宅建於岩山上,面向無敵湖景,150名賓客可同時進餐,房間無數,更設有土耳其浴室!

 

大宅建成後四年,Henry夫婦到埃及旅遊,但Margaret Henry不幸感染痢疾,最終不治,年僅45歲。

 

Mitchell Henry為紀念亡妻,在主宅旁加建一座小型簡約教堂,將亡妻安葬於教堂後的小墓室,此後Mitchell Henry終身不娶,四十年後他死於英國,終年85歲,死後骨灰運回大宅,長伴愛妻。

 

Kylemore Abbey興建時,愛爾蘭正值饑荒,Henry夫婦以優厚待遇聘請大量人手興建大宅,員工子女更可入讀子弟學堂;當Margaret Henry於埃及身亡,更有員工表示:「我們失去的不是女主人,而是我們的母親。」現時不少Kylemore Abbey員工正是當年建宅工人的後代。

 

以上皆是Kylemore Abbey現場展板的內容,年代久遠,老闆係未好到咁難以考證,但至少當代負責人仍高舉「世代傳承」、「慈主忠僕」等傳統價值;在資本主義橫行的年代,愛爾蘭(一如英國)處處都有old school影子呢。

 

 

Henry夫婦仙遊後,大宅易手予曼徹斯特公爵夫婦,夫人曾改建大宅,但不久後大宅被賭鬼公爵輸掉了。

 

 

及至1920年,來自比利時的Benedictine修女團體買下大宅,改建為女子學校與修道院;直至2010年學校停運,不久開放予公眾參觀,現時當地社區團體不時在大宅舉辦萬聖節聚會、教堂崇拜、唱歌班等活動,至今大宅仍與當地團體有深厚聯繫,實屬難得。

 

相較香港不少私人大宅如虎豹別墅、景賢里等,早被地產吞逝,與當地社區的聯繫早已消失,相比迄立逾一世紀、仍與當地社區有深厚聯繫的Kylemore Abbey,實在相形見絀。

 

 

 

Kylemore Abbey大宅真的非常漂亮,當日幸運天晴,靚景美絕,但跟團真的太趕,根本無時間細看,加上大宅佔地極廣,景點又多,不停跑跑跑,影完相就離開,有錢都無時間品嚐大宅美食,嗚~

 

 

 

Kylemore Abbey is an ancient word and it means ‘Big Wood’. It was built in front of the green mountain and on the blue water. The reflection of Kylemore Abbey on the lake was very clear because it was a sunny day with quiet wind when I visited Kylemore Abbey and just simply beautiful.

 

 

The mansion was built between 1867 to 1871 and its owner was Mitchell & Margaret Henry. Mitchell Henry was an Irish who own a cotton factory in England. He grew interest in politics and became the representatives of Galway since he moved back to Ireland and lived in the mansion. He had 9 children.

 

The mansion was built on rocks and facing the beautiful lake with 150 guest can have dinner together. There were lots of guest rooms in the mansion and even with a Turkish sauna!

 

The Henrys were traveling in Egypt after the mansion completed 4 years later. But Margaret Henry contracted dysentery and died in aged 45.

 

Mitchell Henry built a Miniature church next to the main building to remember his beloved wife and Margaret’s grave was behind the church.

Mitchell Henry never remarry again. He died in England 40 years later in aged 85. His ashes was shipped back to the mansion and slept next to his beloved wife.

 

Ireland was in famine when Kylemore Abbey was built. Henrys recruited labours to build the mansion in a very good condition. The children of the staff could even attend schools run by the Henrys.

‘It is not our mistress we have lost, but our mother’ said one tenant as Margaret died in Egypt.

Many staffs in Kylemore Abbey today were the grandchildren who built the mansion.

 

Those are stories from boards stood in Kylemore Abbey today. It was a long time ago and it is difficult to know if the Henrys were REALLY such a nice boss.

But at least it’s obvious the boss who run Kylemore Abbey today loves traditional value such as ‘Generations inherited’ and ‘Kind boss Loyal servants’

Ireland (and UK) has lots of old school believing even in today capitalism world.

 

 

The Duke and Duchess of Manchester took over the mansion after the Henrys died. The Duchess of Manchester did a little reform in the mansion but the mansion was lost on the gamble table soon by the Duke of Manchester.

 

 

The Benedictine nuns from Belgium bought the mansion in 1920 and changed it into a girl school. The school stop running in 2010 and soon open to public. There are lots of local activities such as Halloween party, church assemble and choir still running today in Kylemore Abbey.

 

Beautiful private mansions such as The Haw Par Mansion and King Yin Lei in Hong Kong were long gone. It is such a pity that Hong Kong can’t keep its treasures comparing to Kylemore Abbey which stood over a century and still have a deep connections with the local communities today.

 

 

Kylemore Abbey is really beautiful. I was lucky to have a sunny day and made some good shots. But the tour was so rush. I didn’t have enough time to appreciate the mansion and the mansion area is so BIG with LOTS of scattered visiting spots. I just ran, ran, ran and leave immediately once I took the photo. I even didn’t have time to enjoy a delicious lunch in Kylemore Abbey even I had money, sigh~

禮品店Gift shop
禮品店Gift shop
靚爆simple amazing.
靚爆simple amazing.
全圖map
全圖map
超靚景Beautiful view!
超靚景Beautiful view!
風靜Quiet wind
風靜Quiet wind
背山面湖!Mountain&Lake
背山面湖!Mountain&Lake
主宅Main Building
主宅Main Building
後山有雕像Statue in the mountain
後山有雕像Statue in the mountain
有很多展板,詳細介紹Info boards
有很多展板,詳細介紹Info boards
畫Painting
畫Painting
超靚古典風Beautiful classic style
超靚古典風Beautiful classic style
靚椅~Beautiful chair
靚椅~Beautiful chair
幅畫好靚...beautiful painting...
幅畫好靚...beautiful painting...
火爐!Fire stove!
火爐!Fire stove!
飯廳Dining room
飯廳Dining room
維修中...restoring...
維修中...restoring...
屋企隔離起間教堂...Church is next to the home
屋企隔離起間教堂...Church is next to the home
真係好靚really beautiful
真係好靚really beautiful
彩繪玻璃!stained glass!
彩繪玻璃!stained glass!
靚窗beautiful window.
靚窗beautiful window.
窗window
窗window
地板都咁靚...even the floor is so beautiful!
地板都咁靚...even the floor is so beautiful!
好靚...so beautiful...
好靚...so beautiful...
好靚...so beautiful..
好靚...so beautiful..
墓the grave
墓the grave
超靚景Beautiful view!
超靚景Beautiful view!
天使Angel
天使Angel
小教堂Little church
小教堂Little church
雕工細緻Beautiful craft
雕工細緻Beautiful craft
靜Quiet
靜Quiet
教堂仔little church
教堂仔little church
教堂內部in the church
教堂內部in the church
高門大窗Tall door big windows
高門大窗Tall door big windows
教堂church
教堂church