Princess Grace visits Mayo ancestral home

10th June 1961
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The ancestral home of Grace Kelly (Oscar-winning American actress and princess of Monaco) where her grandfather, John Peter Kelly, was born in 1857 is in Drimurla just outside Newport, Co. Mayo. He left Ireland for Philadelphia in 1887, where he founded a leading construction company.

In 1961 (accompanied by her husband, Prince Rainier Grimaldi III of Monaco) Grace Kelly was reconnected with her ancestral home.

The couple stayed at the elegant Newport House and went to Drimurla to have tea with Ellen Mulchrone, who by then owned the charming two-room thatch cottage that had been the Kelly ancestral home. It was still very much a viable dwelling, that got a special whitewash for the occasion that was in it.

Grace later purchased the house and surrounding land for £7,500 (Irish punt) from Mulchrone in April 1976. Planning to build a holiday home there, she returned later that year, and again in 1979 with Prince Rainier to oversee architectural plans for the holiday home. She told the local press of her intentions to return in a few years to see the home finished.

However, on Sept. 14, 1982, Grace had a fatal accident when her car left a winding road in the cliffs of Monaco. A wreath of wild flowers, picked around her ancestral home in Drimurla, were sent by local residents to Monaco for the funeral.

Today, the house is no more than a crumbling ruin.

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