Remembering a Beloved Wife

As was mentioned last Monday (see A Rich Man’s Extravagance « The Irish Aesthete), Margaret Henry, wife of the man who had commissioned Kylemore Castle, County Galway, died in 1874 while the family was travelling in Egypt. Her body was brought back to Ireland and three years after her death, work began on a commemorative church in the grounds of the estate. The architect responsible was James Franklin Fuller, who chose to design a 14th century English cathedral in miniature, the exterior of dressed rubble limestone relieved with crisp limestone ashlar for the fenestration and porch as well as such details as the angels which conceal dripstones at the base of the steeply pitched roof.

Inside the building, the three-bay nave rises to an elaborate vaulted ceiling supported by piers featuring differently-coloured Irish marbles. At the west end of the chancel, below a hexafoil rose window over two triple lights, the space is occupied by a sandstone sedilia, delicately carved with flowers and foliage. Finished in 1881, and restored in the 1990s, the Kylemore chapel is unquestionably one of Fuller’s finest works and well worth a visit. 

4 comments on “Remembering a Beloved Wife

  1. William Francis Cunningham says:

    The wonderful photos really bring out the true beauty of this wonderful building, always a great pleasure to visit.

  2. says:


  3. thornlyboy says:

    aThis is a gem of a building and your articles are always a delight. But, is it just me or are the fittings (particularly the benches and the sanctuary fittings) really just very poor for this fine setting? VCII lives!

  4. Irene Wynne says:

    I hadn’t known about it when I visited, more the pity !

Leave a Reply to Irene WynneCancel reply