Permission has been given for the construction of a new monastery building at the site of Kylemore Abbey.
The new monastery will be a mixed single storey and three storey building at the rear of the existing Chapel at Kylemore Abbey.
Works will also involve demolishing and reconstructing a single storey building adjacent to the Chapel, the demolition of a storage unit, and building an ESB substation with an adjacent switchroom.
The design statement for the new monastery included with the planning application says that a “monastery should be its own isolated environment, free from the outside world.”
“Over the years as the abbey has opened itself more to the public, becoming a tourist destination, this sense of isolation has eroded. The new monastery should once again establish this boundary.”
While the design includes a public area for visitors and guests, it draws a clear line between that and the inner monastery.
Kylemore Abbey is a Benedictine monastery acquired in 1920 for the Benedictine nuns who fled Ypres in Belgium during WWI.
The nuns restored the abbey from an old Victorian castle built in 1868 on the shores of Lough Pollacapall in Connemara.
The new monastery is for accommodating the Benedictine sisters on the existing abbey grounds.
The designers made great efforts in their choice of building materials not to have too glaring a difference in appearance between the modern monastery and the limestone of the 19th century abbey.
For this they chose a naturally grey coloured brick with a slightly crumbled texture, and a lightly couloured mortar for the joints.
The development is within the lands of Kylemore Abbey, which is listed as a protected structure.
Other small works that will be carried out in the renovations include re configuring the footpath on the visitors access bridge to facilitate construction works, and adding ten car parking spaces for resident
The total floor area to be added at Kylemore Abbey in the new construction is 2292m².
Permission was granted by Galway County Council with 10 conditions attached.