Kylemore’s Turkish baths

 

Sir, – I read Hugh Oram’s Irishman’s Diary (February 6th) about the Turkish baths of Ireland in the 19th century with interest because Kylemore Abbey has its own history of Turkish baths.

We have been under the illusion that Mitchell Henry, ever an innovator, built Turkish baths at Kylemore in 1886 as an exclusive luxury for himself and his guests, but obviously not; they were the latest fashion at the time.

When the nuns came to Kylemore in 1920, the Turkish baths were still there, but they preferred to forego their Turkish baths and built a school for the local children instead.

Time passed, and Scoile Áine was moved to another part of the castle and the nuns built a convent on the site.

More time passed, and Notre Dame University leased the building, renovated it extensively, and the Turkish baths – now reduced to a few white tiles in a rock face – achieved new prominence.

The architects made them a feature of a large picture window in a passage that runs along the length of the building.

The other feature in the passage, with its own picture window, is a spectacular waterfall.

Mitchell Henry’s Turkish baths have achieved immortality! – Yours, etc,

Sr GENEVIEVE

HARRINGTON OSB,

Kylemore Abbey,

Connemara,

Co Galway.