Nuns the wiser: Order's Kylemore Trust enjoys €1.375m windfall

The nuns’ trust that owns the iconic Kylemore Abbey and Gardens last year enjoyed a €1.375m windfall as the Co Galway attraction enjoyed further growth.

New accounts show that the Benedictine nuns-owned trust, Kylemore Trust, charged rent of €800,000 to the Kylemore Abbey and Gardens last year.

In addition, the nuns’ Trust also received a charitable donation of €575,000 from the firm last year.

Kylemore is open all year round and visitor numbers are split between 80pc overseas and 20pc Irish – US visitors make up the highest proportion of overseas visitors.

The nuns through their firm, Kylemore Abbey and Gardens Ltd, took back the running of the Co Galway tourist attraction at the end of 2014.

That firm last year recorded a modest pre-tax profit of €11,639 after the payouts. The profit takes account of non-cash depreciation costs of €259,592.

The firm’s gross profit increased from €5.2m to €5.4m.

The charitable donation and the rent is expected to fund the capital expenditure into the attraction and critical conservation and restoration work at the destination. The cash pile at the nuns’ Abbey and Gardens Ltd firm increased from €346,795 to €487,122. Sister Máire Hickey and director of the resort firm, Peter Allen, sign off on the accounts. Numbers employed by the firm last year increased from 79 to 90, with staff costs increasing from €1.84m to €1.94m.

Kylemore is not just a historical attraction, but a living one and visitors can see the nuns in their habits walking around the grounds. The Benedictine Nuns came to Kylemore in 1920 after their abbey in Ypres, Belgium was destroyed in World War I.

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