Thursday, August 28, 2008

The Jealous Wall

I grew up not far from Ireland's largest folly, the Jealous Wall in the grounds of Belvedere House near Mullingar in County Westmeath. The Jealous Wall is an enormous pretend ruin built by the owner of Belvedere House to block the view of the neighbouring house, where his brother lived.

From :

"The story of the Jealous Wall and the sadness and cruelty that surrounded the lives of the Rochfort family, is well known. The first Earl of Belvedere, Robert Rochfort, married the young and beautiful Mary Molesworth. After she bore several children he locked her up aged 20 in his old family home at Gaulstown, for suspected adultery.

She remained a prisoner for the better part of her life, and was only released on the death of her tyrannical husband. It is said that he erected the Jealous Wall to block out the view of his brother's nearby mansion, Tudenham, because he suspected him of fancying his wife too. It is one of several remarkable follies which may be seen in the parkland at Belvedere."

Here is a photograph of it:

Jealous Wall, Ireland's largest folly

If you're in Westmeath, or passing through on a drive between Dublin and Galway, it's worth making a detour to tour Belvedere House, shown in the photo below. There is also a good small museum there, with a craft shop, kids petting zoo, and a cafe.

Belvedere House

[ Cross posted to my travel blog ]

[My photo of the Jealous Wall is featured on the excellent Wikihow guide to stop being jealous ]

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