An Taoiseach Enda Kenny with Notre Dame Trustee Emeritus Martin Naughton and Sr. Maire Hickey O.S.B. Mother Abbess at Kylemore Abbey, Co. Galway where he launched the University of Notre Dame EducatioKeith Heneghan / Phocus

The University of Notre Dame and the Benedictine Community at Kylemore Abbey in Connemara, County Galway, Ireland, have formed a partnership to create a center to advance their shared spiritual, cultural, and educational missions.

Programming, which will include courses of varied length and span a variety of academic disciplines, is expected to begin in 2016.

The programs sponsored by the center will draw upon both the academic rigor of the University of Notre Dame and the rich tradition of Benedictine spirituality. Details concerning the specific programs and syllabi for this world class center of excellence will be announced over the coming months.

Reflecting upon this new partnership, Prof. Thomas Burish, Provost of the University of Notre Dame, stated, "The University of Notre Dame is honored and grateful for the invitation by the Benedictine Community at Kylemore Abby to join this mission. We are hopeful that our mutual engagement will contribute to the tradition of educational excellence to which both the Benedictine Community and the University aspire."

Sister Maire Hickey, Abbess of the Benedictine Community at Kylemore Abbey, said: “The Community of Kylemore is delighted and privileged to be drawn into this project, combining the wealth of Benedictine spirituality and culture with the rich resources and academic excellence of the University of Notre Dame, developing Kylemore Abbey into the future as a monastic centre of spirituality and learning in the West of Ireland..”

The partnership enjoys the support of Notre Dame trustee and Irish businessman, Martin Naughton, as well as a number of Notre Dame benefactors in the United States.

The opening of the center will see Kylemore Abbey continue to flourish as the largest tourist attraction in the West of Ireland thanks to its Gothic Chapel, stunning Victorian Walled Garden and its surrounding dramatic landscape. Indeed, once the Educational Centre of Excellence is completed it is expected its high profile globally, and particularly in North America, will enhance Kylemore Abbey’s ability to attract additional visitors to the region.

The development of the center will involve several stages of construction, which will provide employment in the local area.

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