The Benedictine nuns at Kylemore Abbey in Co Galway, have launched a new business - manufacturing chocolate.
Community spokesperson Sr Genevieve said, that in the wake of the closure of the boarding school, she and her seven fellow-sisters were looking for some new enterprises to occupy them.
She explained that the former boarding school had an excellent kitchen, fitted to the highest standard, which was used for home economics teaching, and two members of the community went on a formal training course in chocolate making.
They have now started producing chocolate products in the old school kitchen, including chocolate bars that are being sold at Kylemore’s shop and restaurant.
The venture is already employing them almost full-time.
The ingredients are bought in but the chocolate is hand-made in the abbey kitchen and the Benedictines hope to expand the business gradually.
Besides the boarding school, previous business ventures by the Kylemore community have included a jam-making business that employed several local people and a farm attached to the abbey, which they operated.
Kylemore is also one of the west of Ireland’s most popular tourist attractions, but the nuns have recently leased this to outside management.