Grace Kelly family ancestral home
About six kilometres from Newport in the townland of Drumilra, Mayo, and overlooking the ‘Leg of Mutton’ lake, lie the crumbling remains of a three roomed cottage that actress and princess, Grace Kelly, purchased in June of 1976. Grace Kelly’s grandfather, John Peter Kelly had been born and reared in the small cottage, but had emigrated from Drumilra in 1887.
Grace, eager to explore her roots, had visited the cottage during a royal state visit in 1961 with her husband, Prince Rainier III of Monaco.
The ‘Widow Mulchrone’ was living in the cottage when Grace visited, and she had spent the morning baking and cleaning in preparation for the royalty. One can only imagine the widow flitting about the three rooms below, having lit the fire and swept the hearth, excited about meeting the prince and princess. A big black kettle was hung over the open fire for the tea later that day.
In the years that followed, Grace would send a card every Christmas to the widow. In 1976 she visited the widow at the MacBride Home for the Elderly and subsequently bought the cottage and its surrounding 35 acres of land.
Grace had plans to build a holiday home on the site. Plans were drawn up and planning permission granted by Mayo County Council for the new build. In 1979, Grace and her husband visited Mayo in 1979 and inspected the plans. Unfortunately, three years later, Grace died tragically in a car crash and her plans never came to fruition.
Today, the locals maintain the site. The grass is short, the hedge to the front of the house is kept cut back, and those wishing to view the house firsthand can walk in around the buildings as long as they avoid the “ram” that roams freely.
It’s sad to see the cottage, in such a beautiful location, and with such a fascinating history, crumbling into the ground. The site would surely be adequate (and the interest high enough) to provide for the renovation of the cottage to its former old style, and a small cafe/information centre dedicated both to the memory of Grace Kelly and to the lives of the people who lived in the area. Visitors could drink their tea and coffee at outdoor tables while enjoying stunning views out over the lake. With 35 acres, there would be room for a small car park too, and a one way system could probably be put in place around the lake which would take people in from the R311 and back onto it again. Or maybe that’s just my romantic notions taking over.
4 thoughts on “The Kelly Homestead”
Maybe funding from the national lottery would help to restore the house
And open it up as cafe coffee shop
It would bring tourists from all over it’s historical
So sad to see it in this ruined state. A small monument should be erected in her memory x
Yes that is a brilliant idea, it is quite natural to see this as a once in a lifetime opportunity! These days with the high interest in family history and folk tracing their roots this place would quite rightly be a high priority visit. I know little about Grace Kelly but I do know that in my family tree we have a ‘Kelly’ surname so I shall now look further into that. Come on Ireland use your noodle and rescue the small part that is left of Graces’ home, you owe it to her!
Hi Eamonn Kirby
I agree with you.
Plans for restoration had been passed by Mayo Co Council based on the wishes of Princess Grace before her death.
She obviously had a love and respect for the widow that lived there until her death and the fact Princess Grace grandfather was born and reared there.
It could be a great Tourist attraction for Co Mayo.
A place to be Proud.
I am sure if a strong determined campaign began the famous Irish Actors Pierce Brosnan Liam Neeson Colin Farrell and actress Saoirse Ronan would support such a restoration. Along with film director Jim Sheridan.
Diarmuid Bannon would probably be very interested in such a great project.
Strike while the money is there and at present the Goverenment have it.
The President of Ireland and his wife surely would back such a great project along with the American President Biden.
Along with Edna OBrien Author.
It would be great for diplomatic relations between Ireland and America.
Where there is a will there is a way.
This is a worthwhile project for the people of Co Mayo to successfully achieve with the great support from people all across Ireland.
Look what the lovely couple that purchased and restored Lisadell House and Land in Sligo greatly successfully achieved.
Let the campaign begin.
The Royal family of Monocco would I am sure greatly support and approve.