Notre Dame Gets to Work on New Irish Abbey Center

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A recent commencement of work ceremony at Kylemore Abbey featured (from the left): Lisa Caulfield, Warren von Eschenbach, Enda Kenny, Nicholas Entrikin, Abbess Maire Hickey, Martin Naughton, Rev. Tim Scully and Kevin Whelan. A recent commencement of work ceremony at Kylemore Abbey featured (from the left): Lisa Caulfield, Warren von Eschenbach, Enda Kenny, Nicholas Entrikin, Abbess Maire Hickey, Martin Naughton, Rev. Tim Scully and Kevin Whelan.

Work is underway on a new University of Notre Dame academic center in Ireland. Programming is expected to begin in May and officials say the project includes "completely refurbishing" a wing of the Kylemore Abbey, which was first settled by Benedictine nuns in 1920.

A boarding school for girls was located at the property until 2010. A commencement of work ceremony was held Monday that included Ireland Prime Minister Taoiseach Enda Kenny.

The program will have room for as many as 44 students. It serves as an expansion of Notre Dame's presence in the European nation. One of the university's Global Gateways, along with Beijing, Chicago, Jerusalem, London and Rome, is Dublin. Notre Dame says its Keough-Naughton Institute for Irish Studies is focused on the study and understanding of Irish culture supports students through language study, travel class, semester study, internship conference support and other opportunities. It has a presence in the historic home of Daniel O'Connell in Dublin's Merrion Square.

Notre Dame trustee and Irish businessman Martin Naughton says "Notre Dame is one of the world's most esteemed universities and since 1998 over two thousand students of the University have come to Ireland to study. We are pleased to be able to offer those students another option with the opening of Notre Dame's programs at Kylemore Abbey, situated in the stunning heart of Connemara."

Courses are set to begin in May 2016 and the university will work with other Irish and European University partners.

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