Part 3...Kylemore Abbey...A romantic gift lives on...A tragic love story...

A wedding gown of the era.
"Fascinating Fact of the Day About Ireland" 

A tapestry representing wealthy businessman, Henry Mitchell, owner of Kylemore Abbey.
"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 luchorpanmeaning ‘little body’."
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As we wandered through the rooms of Kylemore Castle, we were reminded of many historical castles, museums, and homes we've toured during our travels.  In a considerably lesser manner, Kylemore's furnishings reminded us of some of the furnishings in Versailles, although definitely not as elaborate. To see those photos, please click here.

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.
Sadly, Margaret's life was cut short while traveling as explained in the following from this site:

"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.

Although Henry remained on at Kylemore life for him there was never the same again. His older children helped him to manage the estate and care for the younger ones, as he attempted to continue his vision for improvements and hold on to his political career. By now he had become a prominent figure in Irish politics and was a founding member of Isaac Butt’s Home Rule movement. 
"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 much as we all whine about the incompetencies and stresses as a result of medicine, Big Pharma, politics, traffic and much more, we are lucky to live in these times.  

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.  
Ornate fireplace.
Stairs are the hardest part for me at this point and although I struggle with each step on the spiral staircase, doing so regularly can only help build my strength.

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.
That's it for our Kylemore Abbey story and photos.  Today, it is exactly three weeks until we head for the airport in Dublin where we'll spend one night and fly to Amsterdam, The Netherlands, the next day.

Enjoy every moment of your day and evening!

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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.

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