|A wedding gown of the era.
“Fascinating Fact of the Day About Ireland”
“Leprechauns originate in Irish folklore as
a fairy in the form of a tiny old man often with a cocked
hat and leather apron. The word derives from the Old Irish word luchorpan meaning ‘little body’.”
After all, a king, Louis XIII, built the magnificent French palace, not a simple businessman like Henry Mitchell a few centuries later. But, Margaret and Henry, as world travelers, surely have visited Versaille and other great castles while their castle was being built in Ireland.
|The interior of Kylemore Abbey’s castle was renovated in recent years honoring the design and style of the era.
“A Tragic Love Story
As you enter the front door of Kylemore Abbey you cannot help but notice the beautiful carved angel which guards over it. In the hands of that angel is the coat of arms of Margaret Henry’s birth family, the Vaughan’s of County Down.
Margaret’s Coat of Arms over the front door proudly proclaim this as her castle. Look more closely and you will also see charming carvings of birds which were a favorite motif of the Henry’s. The birds represented the Henry’s hope that Kylemore would become the ‘nesting’ place of their family. Indeed Kylemore did provide an idyllic retreat from the hustle and bustle of life in London where, even for the very wealthy, life was made difficult by the polluted atmosphere caused by the Industrial Age.
|This chaise certainly appeared to be comfortable.
At Kylemore Margaret, Mitchell and their large family reveled in the outdoor life of the ‘Connemara Highlands’. Margaret took on the role of the country lady and became much loved by the local tenants. Her passion for travel and eye for beauty were reflected in the sumptuous interiors where Italian and Irish craftsmen worked side by side to create the ‘family nest’. Sadly the idyllic life did not last long for the Henrys.
In 1874 just a few years after the castle was completed, the Henry family departed Kylemore for a luxurious holiday in Egypt. Margaret was struck ill while traveling and despite all efforts, nothing could be done and after two weeks of suffering she died. She was 45 years old and her youngest daughter, Violet, was just two years old. Mitchell was heartbroken.
|An authentic horse tricycle, hand pedaled, used by the Mitchell children.
Margaret’s body was beautifully embalmed in Cairo before being returned to Kylemore. According to local lore, Margaret lay in a glass coffin which was placed beneath the grand staircase in the front hall, where family and tenants alike could come to pay their respects. In an age when all funerals were held in the home, this is not as unusual as it may first seem. In time Margaret’s remains were placed in a modest red-brick mausoleum in the woodlands of her beloved Kylemore.
|“The rocking horse as we know it dates back to the 17th Century when wooden rocking horses first appeared in Europe. A very few of these early rocking horses still survive in museums and private collections. These include one of the earliest ridden by King Charles I of England when he was a boy.”
In 1878 work began on the neo-Gothic Church which was built as a beautiful and lasting testament to Henry’s love for his wife. Margaret’s remains were, for some reason, never moved to the vaults beneath the church and to this day she lays along with Mitchell in the little Mausoleum nestled in the woods.”
In that era, medicines were yet to be discovered that could possibly have saved her life. One can only imagine how sorrowful her death was to Henry and their young children which occurred only a short time after the completion of the castle.
|Another wedding dress from the era, the 1700s. This may be comparable to the gown worn by Margaret Vaughn Mitchell.
As hard as the walk was for me at Kylemore Abbey, I am grateful to be alive and still continue to try to make each day memorable. Today, I started walking upstairs, trying for 10 flights a day, to build my stamina.
Again, no cleaner today due to her recent illness. Tom and I will take care of it ourselves, him doing the floors and me cleaning the kitchen and two baths all of which is a good exercise for me.
In the era, it was commonplace for “gentlemen” to use a walking stick when out and about, as well as those who may have needed to use one of these ornate canes.
Enjoy every moment of your day and evening!
Photo from one year ago today, July 18, 2018:
|When capturing this hippo and cattle egret in the bright sun from quite a distance, we didn’t realize there was a croc in the photo until we uploaded the photo. For more photos, please click here.