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Ffrench Mausoleum Weird Thing
 

County

Galway

Coordinates

N 53° 22' 20.46"   W 008° 41' 16.14"

Nearest town

Monivea

Grid Ref.

M 54228 36018

Map No.

46

Elevation a.s.l. (m)

65

Date of visit

Tuesday 23 June 2015

GPS Accuracy (m)

3
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In a clearing in the Monivea Wood is this castle-like building which is the resting place for Robert Percy ffrench and his daughter Kathleen.


This unusual yet amazing building is the Mausoleum erected to house the remains of Robert Percy ffrench and his daughter Kathleen.
Robert Percy ffrench was a descendant of a Monivea landlord family, he was born in 1832.
He was secretary for the British Embassies in St. Petersburgh and Vienna. He married a rich Russian heiress and had one daughter, Kathleen. Robert converted to Catholicism and was a Knight of St. John of Jerusalem.
When he died in 1896 his body was embalmed and his daughter had this mausoleum erected.
It's been built in a clearing among the trees in the Monivea Wood and this secluded position adds a lot to its beauty and magnificence.
It has a castle-like look, with a rectangular plan which measures 8.50 metres of width and 12.50 metres of length, with a square turret in its northeast corner. This turret contains a spiral staircase to the roof which has a crenellated top.
To the south of the building there's a concrete Celtic cross with no inscription.
The building was built using Wicklow granite.
The mausoleum took four years to be built and cost £10,000.
On the west (270°) side there are six stone steps that lead to a Gothic archway with a heavy oak door. The door is locked and the key is available in Monivea.
Inside the mausoleum there's a majestic and impressive marble canopy with four black columns which surrounds the life-size effigy of Robert Percy ffrench carved in Carrara marble by the Italian artist Francesco Jerace. The figure lies on his back, like he was sleeping, covered with a carved cloth with an inscribed Maltese Cross. A motto has been carved on the side of the effigy, it reads "Il lui sera beaucoup pardonné car il a beaucoup aimé", which means "He will be forgiven much because he has loved much".
Kathleen died on January 1st, 1938, in Manchuria, and her body was taken to Ireland to be reunited to his father.
Robert Percy ffrench was the last male of his family.

The only light to this chamber comes from the stained glass windows in the north, east and south walls.
The spiral staircase that leads to the roof also goes down to a crypt with the tombs of Robert and his daughter Kathleen, but there's no electricity in the building and without a source of light it's too dark to go down safely.

I'd wish to thank the lovely people of Monivea for their kindness and friendly attitude during our short visit!


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