By the Banks of the Slaney


A pyramid by the banks not of the Nile but the river Slaney, this is the Aldborough Mausoleum in Baltinglass, County Wicklow. The Earls of Aldborough have been discussed here before, both in relation to Belan, County Kildare (see Splendours and Follies, September 30th 2013) and Aldborough House, Dublin (see A Thundering Disgrace, January 13th 2014 and A Thundering Disgrace No More?, February 27th 2017). The family’s architectural ambitions are reflected in this tomb, which dates from 1832 and was built to the immediate south of the chancel of the former Cistercian abbey church in Baltinglass, a curious juxtaposition of two different styles. The monastery had been suppressed in 1536 but the chancel here was later converted into a parochial church for the Church of Ireland, remaining in use for this purpose until 1883. The Aldborough Mausoleum is similar to but smaller than the Howard Mausoleum elsewhere in County Wicklow (see A Fitting Memorial, January 10th 2018). Both take the form of a pyramid on a square base and both are constructed from local granite. A door on the north side of the Baltinglass monument gave access to the interior, now stripped of any contents (the pyramids of Egypt not being the only ones subject to grave robbers…)

5 comments on “By the Banks of the Slaney

  1. Andrew McCarthy says:

    A small but beautiful & elegant work. It reminds me of the design that Benjamin Henry Latrobe proposed for the Washington Monument in the USA: though at a much larger scale, it also had a pyramid set on a quadrilateral base with sloping sides (featuring a step pyramid rather than one with smooth walls).

  2. James Canning says:

    Arresting photo!

  3. Jonathan Young says:

    You may be interested in a similar, and much more elegant tomb pyramid of the family Swifte, in the graveyard of the now derelict Castlerickard Church of Ireland, by the banks of the Boyne, near Enfield in County Meath. I was in the tomb chamber as a teenager in the late 70’s, and the ornate coffins had been punched through to get to the possibility of the funeral jewellery!! The entrance is lately concreted over.

    Also just to say I am so pleased to have discovered your blog and the erudition therein.

  4. Geraldine Boyle. says:

    Yes, I too have seen this tomb at Castlerickard and it is well worth a visit.!

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