The Glenlo Abbey was built in the 1790s by the Ffrench family, one of the fourteen tribes of Galway who were prominent merchants and landowners in the city. The Ffrench family owned the estate since 1569, when they acquired it from the Kirwan family. The estate was originally known as Kentfield House, but later changed its name to Glenlo House, which means “Glen of the Lake” in Irish.
The Abbey was intended to be a private church for the Ffrench family, but it was never completed or officially consecrated. Stained glass windows, an altar, a pulpit and a bell tower were all added to the Abbey. They also installed a pipe organ that was originally in Westminster Abbey in London.
In 1980, the estate was purchased by the Bourke family, who converted it into a luxury hotel. They preserved the original features of the Abbey, such as the stone walls, the vaulted ceiling and the Gothic windows. They also added modern amenities, such as heating, lighting and sound systems. The Abbey became a popular venue for weddings, events and afternoon tea.
In 2016, the hotel underwent a major renovation that enhanced its facilities and services. The Abbey was also refurbished to create a more elegant and comfortable space for guests. The pipe organ was restored and tuned by experts from England. The stained-glass windows were cleaned and repaired. The furniture and fittings were updated to match the style and colour scheme of the hotel.
Today, the Abbey is one of the most distinctive features of Glenlo Abbey Hotel & Estate. It offers guests a chance to experience a piece of history and enjoy a serene and romantic atmosphere. The Abbey can accommodate up to 120 guests for weddings, events and afternoon tea. It can also host smaller gatherings, such as private dinners, meetings and ceremonies.
The Abbey is decorated with fresh flowers, candles and lanterns to create a warm and inviting ambience. The pipe organ provides live music for special occasions, such as weddings and Christmas carols. The stained-glass windows cast colourful light on the stone walls and wooden floors. The altar is adorned with silverware and crystalware that belong to the Ffrench family collection.
The tranquility and splendour of it is wonderful
10/ 10 from the minute we arrived, a brief history of the hotel from the concierge . Helpful front office person , beautiful room and then the wonderful pullman restaurant for dinner . Couldn’t recommend it highly enough . Superb .