Business Irish

Sunday 4 December 2016

Profits up at Kylemore Abbey as Sisters do it for themselves

Gordon Deegan

Published 17/11/2016 | 02:30

Kylemore Abbey in Connemara
Kylemore Abbey in Connemara

The small group of Benedictine nuns at Kylemore Abbey and Gardens in Galway will be happy as the cash pile at their firm last year soared to almost €350,000.

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The nuns - through their firm, Kylemore Abbey and Gardens - took back the running of the tourist attraction at the end of 2014. Now, new figures for the first full year of operation show that the firm's cash pile increased more than three-fold last year, going from €103,496 to €346,795.

The business is one of the largest employers in Connemara, with 135 staff. The accounts are signed off by Sister Máire Hickey and chief executive of the resort firm, Patrick Lavelle.

Mr Lavelle yesterday said that last year was "a very good year", with 300,000 visitors to Kylemore. Mr Lavelle said Kylemore benefited from the Wild Atlantic Way and enjoyed further growth this year attracting 330,000 visitors.

The firm reduced its accumulated loss by €29,919 from €33,677 to €3,758. Staff costs at the resort firm last year totalled €1.59m.

Kylemore is open all year and Mr Lavelle said that the visitor numbers are split between 80pc overseas and 20pc Irish.

Kylemore is not just a historical attraction, but a living one and remains a convent, where nuns in their habits as well as tourists can be found walking the grounds.

The Benedictine Nuns came to Kylemore in 1920 after their abbey in Ypres, Belgium was destroyed in World War I.

There was a school on the grounds between 1923 and 2010.

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