Originally built as a castle in 1867, Kylemore Abbey became an abbey in 1920, making it the oldest of the Irish Benedictine abbeys. Since that time, the nuns have opened their doors as an international girls' boarding school, as well as welcoming visitors to tour the grounds, the Victorian walled garden, the gothic church, and several of the abbey's rooms. In June 2010, the girls' school will come to a close.
"Built as a tribute to a beloved wife and now a tourist stop and girls' school," reader gjryan says the abbey "is one of the most picturesque spot in all of Ireland. Stop and see the chapel, the gorgeous grounds (especially the lake), and buy handmade lace sold by the Sisters who live there today."
(Photo: iStockphoto/Anka Kaczmarzyk)