The modest graveyard of Killathy, County Cork contains the remains of a late-medieval church but is dominated by the roofless shell of a large mausoleum, its pedimented facade of limestone ashlar featuring rusticated pilasters on either side of a wide arched opening, access to the interior barred by substantial metal gates (and a great deal of vegetation). The cement-rendered sides and rear of the building are completely plain and there is no indication anywhere for whom it might have been constructed, no crest, no name, nothing. Killathy lies mid-point between Castle Hyde, home to generations of the Hyde family, and Convamore, now a ruin but once residence of the Hares, Earls of Listowel: perhaps this mausoleum was erected for one of these families?
Welcome to Ireland’s equivalent of the Taj Mahal, and the smallest chapel in Europe (also reputedly the second-smallest in the world), located in the centre of Carrick-on-Shannon, County Leitrim. Designed by architect William Hague and completed in 1879, the chapel was commissioned by local businessman Edward Costello to commemorate his wife Mary Josephine who had died two years earlier at the age of 47. Erected on the site of a former Methodist chapel and faced with ashlar limestone, the building measures 12 feet wide by 16 feet long. Crests on either side of the entrance contain the letters EMC and the Costello coat of arms with the motto ‘Ne te quaesiveris extra’ (Do not look outside for yourself). Lined in Bath stone, the interior has a carved marble altar behind which are stained glass windows by Mayer of Munich. Sunk into the floor and on either side of tiles bearing symbols of the Passion of Christ, are two large sheets of glass: through that on the left can be seen the coffin of Mrs Costello, while her husband’s remains lie to the right.
In a graveyard high above Swinford, County Mayo is this mausoleum where members of the Brabazon family were formerly interred. The Brabazons had come to the area in the first half of the 17th century and were later responsible for developing the town, close to which they built a fine house, Brabazon House, which survived until 1980 when pulled down by the local Health Board. Also gone is St Mary’s, the Church of Ireland where they once worshipped, so this mausoleum, seemingly ‘repaired’ in 1828 by Sir William Brabazon, who was then MP for the area (and who died 12 years later after choking on a chicken bone), is the last remaining evidence of the family’s presence in the area. However, the Brabazons do not have the place to themselves: on top of the mausoleum is a large marble column topped with a cross, which commemorates one Patrick Corley who died in 1875 at the age of 60, while on another side of the mausoleum is a plaque dedicated to successive generations of the O’Donnel family who lived some five miles south at Fahyness (now Faheens).
The O’Callaghan Mausoleum, located in the Shanrahan graveyard outside Clogheen, County Tipperary. This was erected in 1742 to commemorate Cornelius O’Callaghan, member of an ancient Irish family who had converted to the Established church and thereafter enjoyed a successful career as a lawyer and Member of Parliament for the Borough of Fethard in the same county. The barrel-vaulted interior of this rather plain gable-ended building contains a fine monument to O’Callaghan, ancestor of the Viscount Lismore who in 1810 would commission John Nash to design Shanbally Castle nearby. (Alas, the castle was shamefully demolished in the late 1950s, the remains being blown up in 1960 so that the cut stone could be used for road building). Occupying much of the end wall, this monument was carved by the Dublin sculptor David Sheehan and depicts the deceased above a Latin inscription and beneath a pediment that supports reclining putti on either side of an urn. Unfortunately the mausoleum now acts as little more than a garden shed for lawn mowers and the other equipment: hardly the most respectful way to treat this historic building, or the man it commemorates.
As many readers will know, Charles Bianconi was an Italian-born entrepreneur who at the age of 16 came to Dublin in 1802 to work as a printer and engraver. Moving to Carrick-on-Suir a few years later, in 1815 he eventually settled in Clonmel, County Tipperary and there established a highly successful business offering passengers inexpensive and efficient travel in coaches around the country. In May 1854, his elder daughter, Catherine Henrietta Bianconi, died at the age of 25 and her father decided to build a mortuary chapel in Boherlahan, a village close to the Longfield estate which he had bought some years earlier. In November 1861, the limestone and sandstone chapel – designed by Bianconi and built at a cost of £1,000 – received the remains of Catherine Henrietta which were placed in a vault; her father would join her there following his own death in 1875.
After Monday’s post about the remains of the once-splendid Barry residence in Castlelyons, County Cork, readers might be interested to see this: a mausoleum erected not far away in the graveyard of Kill St Anne Church. Dating from c.1753, it commemorates James Barry, fourth Earl of Barrymore who had died five years earlier. Born in 1667, the earl had enjoyed a distinguished military career, supporting William of Orange and then participating in the War of the Spanish Succession during which he rose to the rank of Lieutenant-General. However, late in life, he became a supporter of the Jacobite cause and in 1744 was arrested and imprisoned; following the failure of Prince Charles Edward Stuart’s attempted rebellion the following year, the elderly earl was released. He died in January 1748.
His mausoleum in the old village graveyard is constructed of rubble limestone, the eastern facade having an advanced and pedimented centre of red brick, the Serlian opening surrounded by red marble-limestone, its wrought-iron gates topped with an earl’s coronet. To the rear of the groin-vaulted interior is the deceased’s monument composed of different coloured marbles. Completed in 1753, it was the work of David Sheehan and John Houghton, the latter responsible for the angels and presumably the half-length figure of the earl inside a central medallion. Wonderfully unexpected, it is a little bit of Roman baroque in the middle of the Irish countryside.
After Wednesday’s post, here is a somewhat larger memorial, found at Cregaclare, County Galway. This little Gothic mausoleum commemorates John Charles Robert Bingham, fourth Baron Clanmorris who lived in nearby Cregaclare House (since demolished) and who died in 1876. Dating from 1890 and set within the ruins of a late-mediaeval church, the mausoleum was erected by Lord Clanmorris’s widow, Sarah Selina Persse who was also interred there following her death in 1907. The couple’s remains stayed inside the building until 1947 when removed to a graveyard in nearby Ardrahan.
At the rear of a graveyard in Clonlara, County Clare stands this impressive tomb erected following the death in June 1817 of the Rev. Charles Massy. The second son of Sir Hugh Dillon Massy, he had, like so many other young men in his position, become a Church of Ireland clergyman and as such was permitted to marry. His choice of bride was the 18-year old Mary Ann Ross-Lewin, beautiful and poor and as a result of the latter circumstance, Sir Hugh attempted to persuade his son against the marriage. To no avail: the couple married in 1796 and the following year had a son, named Hugh Dillon after his grandfather. All seemed well until 1803 when the Rev Massy and his wife made the acquaintance of Thomas Taylour, first Marquess of Headfort. At the end of that year, on the Sunday morning after Christmas and while her husband was officiating in church, Mary Anne Massy eloped with the marquess who was not only twice her age but married with four children. A scandal ensued, and the cuckolded clergyman brought a case for Criminal Conversation against Taylour, being awarded £10,000 at the end of a court case in July 1804. The Rev Massy was represented by barrister and orator John Philpot Curran, who was in a positin to sympathise with his client’s circumstances: a decade earlier, he had discovered his own wife Sarah had being having an affair with, and become pregnant by, another man – curiously enough, a Church of Ireland cleric the Rev Abraham Sandys. Curran successfully sued for Criminal Conversation, but, since his own philandering was publicly exposed during the case, he was only awarded a token £50. He and his wife separated but never divorced, whereas the Rev Massy did divorce his errant wife in 1808 and subsequently remarried. As for Mrs Massy, she was left in the disadvantaged position of being a divorced woman as the Marquess of Headfort remained married to his wife. None of this history, of course, is related on the the Rev Massy’s tomb but it seems a shame a monument that provides a link to these scandals of the late Georgian period should be allowed to fall into such poor condition.
After last Wednesday’s entry about the mausoleum at Fore, County Westmeath (To the Fore « The Irish Aesthete), here is the burial site of another branch of the same family. Located in Killare, this one holds the remains of the Nugents of Ballinacor, a property they acquired in the first half of the 17th century. Although confiscated by the Cromwellian government, Ballinacor was subsequently returned to Edmond Nugent after he had been declared ‘An innocent Papist.’ Indeed, successive generations remained loyal to their Roman Catholic faith, one of them, John Nugent, fighting for the French army and being awarded the Cross of St Louis for his bravery at the Battle of Fontenoy in 1745, when the British and Dutch forces under the Duke of Cumberland were defeated. Nugents remained at Ballinacor, an 18th century house, until the aftermath of the Great Famine when it was sold in the Encumbered Estates Court in 1852. Ballinacor was demolished as recently as 1995, meaning this mausoleum provides the only surviving evidence of the Nugent family’s long presence in the area.
Fore, County Westmeath is known for the remains of its mediaeval Benedictine abbey, originally founded much earlier by St Féichín, and the seven ancient ‘wonders’ associated with the site. On a slope high above these ruins can be found a former anchorite’s cell that was subsequently used as a mausoleum. In its earlier incarnation, the squat rectangular, two-storey tower dates from the 15th century, but most likely replaced an earlier building on the same spot. Following the Dissolution of the Monasteries, in the 17th century the cell was adapted as a resting place for members of the Nugent family, Earls of Westmeath. , In 1867 a descendant, Lady Rosa Greville, commissioned Pugin & Ashlin to design an extension to the building to create a small chancel, the work being executed by Sibthorpe & Son of Dublin.