Nestled beneath the Druchruach Mountain in Connemara, running along the banks of the Davros River and rich with freshwater lakes and waterfalls, Kylemore Abbey hosts an abundance of natural habitats. Its gentle peatlands are complemented by green pastures and an Oceanic Oak Woodland. The monastic estate is also one of Ireland’s most popular visitor attractions and strives to carefully balance commercial activity with the well-being of the community and environment.
One of the core values guiding the Benedictine Community at Kylemore Abbey is Stewardship—looking after the Kylemore Estate and all things on it with care and diligence. Consequently, environmental sustainability is a deep-rooted objective. Pope Francis’ encyclical Laudato Si’ addresses the environmental challenges being faced around the world. The urgency and importance of its message provides inspiration to the Benedictine Community to drive their environmental sustainability work.
Kylemore Abbey and the National University of Ireland, Galway (NUIG) have recently formed a partnership to deliver the Kylemore Abbey Biodiversity Stewardship Programme. This partnership will allow for research to be carried out on the extensive range of flora and fauna found in the habitats at Kylemore. Eventually, the findings of these studies will form a Biodiversity management plan for the estate to ensure changes are made for the better of the environment and to safeguard biodiversity. Initial work on the programme is already underway and NUIG students have commenced work on research projects. When collaboration between NUIG and the University of Notre Dame recommences (autumn 2021), Notre Dame students of Environmental Sciences will have the option of joining NUIG undergraduates in the Kylemore Abbey project. A joint panel of Kylemore Abbey, Notre Dame Faculty and NUIG faculty has been set-up to work on details of the collaboration. Kylemore Abbey and the Notre Dame Global Centre look forward to strengthening relationships with NUIG while preserving and sharing the heritage, beauty, peace, and ethos of the Kylemore Estate.
This new biodiversity programme is one of a host of sustainability initiatives already underway at Kylemore:
➔ Removal of invasive plant species from woodlands and pastures
➔ A programme of afforestation, with indigenous trees
➔ Replacement of agricultural stock with indigenous Connemara Ponies
➔ Protection measures for the Freshwater Pearl Mussel
➔ Supporting local and regional suppliers
➔ Working towards eliminating Single Use Plastic
➔ Ongoing training in sustainability and development of a Green Team
➔ Developing a food waste partnership