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“Peaceful surroundings for a brief, contemplative respite”
Review of Glenstal Abbey

Glenstal Abbey
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Attraction details
Owner description: Built in 1830 in the style of a 12th century castle as an expansive family residence, with elaborate landscaping of trees and man-made lakes, Glenstal became a Bendictine abbey when the family moved to England in 1920. Today it includes a school of arts and crafts and a new church which houses a collection icons, silver and other treasures.
Reviewed June 11, 2011

For Catholics (or others) seeking respite in simple surroundings, a few days next to the monastic community at Glenstal Abbey may be just the thing. We stayed for a single night in the Guesthouse at Glenstal. Abbot Christopher was a most pleasant host who informed us of the various liturgies and goings on of the day but allowed us to choose how and when to participate. He was also so generous in telling us about the abbey, the community, and the very unique icon chapel. We had a lovely time and wished we could have stayed longer.

8  Thank RaleighFrenchToast
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Reviewed March 11, 2008

Glenstal Abbey was the first stop my husband and I made on our 2006 trip to Ireland, and it was the perfect place to rest after our long journey from Texas. Glenstal is a Benedictine monastery located just about an hour's drive from Shannon Airport, 12 miles east of Limerick City. The 500 acre grounds are beautifully landscaped - some by nature, some as a working farm, and all as a marvelous reflection of the bounty and wonder of God's creation.

Glenstal is home to 40 or so monks year-round, and during the school year, it is also a boarding school for boys. As our visit was in June, school had just ended, and on the day we arrived, parents were picking their sons up to go home for the summer. The Abbey was noticeably quieter by the end of the day.

Glenstal facilities include a new Guest House with all the modern conveniences, including ensuite bathrooms. Our spotless room included two twin beds, and while I didn't peek inside any other rooms, I suspect twin beds are the standard, since this is a monastery that welcomes many guests who are on religious retreat.

During our brief stay, we enjoyed taking our meals in silence with the monks and other visitors. Every meal included delicious brown bread, real butter, jam, and cheese, and the lunch-time meal was especially delicious and hearty. I still remember the meatloaf, potatoes, and other fresh vegetables straight from the Glenstal gardens. We enjoyed the quiet of the meals and of the whole place in general; we found it very calming and restorative, especially after our air travel, which is anything but calming these days.

Next to the Guest House is a koi pond with places to sit in the sun and enjoy the gentle splashing sounds of the fountain. The Abbott of Glenstal is a most gracious host, and after our evening meal, he took us on a tour of the estate. Lucky for me, he is very knowledgeable about the native flora, and was very happy to answer my numerous questions. The next day, he gave us a tour of their library and amazing Icon Chapel.

Glenstal's schedule includes 5 daily assemblages for prayer, including Mass at (or near) noon and evening Vespers. My husband and I are Presbyterian, so the Catholic services would have been somewhat "foreign" to us anyway, but add in the fact that Vespers are chanted in Latin at Glenstal, and you can imagine that this was a mysterious liturgy for us. But for me, the mystery and the beauty of the music (mostly Gregorian chants also in Latin) seemed an entirely appropriate reflection of God.

We were very happy that Glenstal offers a wonderful gift shop, so we could bring home CDs of their beautiful music, a prayer book written by the monks of Glenstal, a rosary for a Catholic friend back home, and a small replica of the Glenstal cross.

Overall, this was one of our favorite places in Ireland. We will definitely return to Glenstal Abbey in future, and hope to stay longer next time.

15  Thank Lynnette_L
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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