DENIS & CHARLOTTE BOWES DALY MAUSOLEUM
Among the attractions of the Dalystown Demesne are two mausolea, or tombs, that were built for different branches of the Daly family.
Denis Bowes Daly (c.1745-1821) was a prominent politician and landowner in Galway. He was the eldest son of Hyacinth Daly of Dalystown and Rose Coghlane of Garry Castle, King’s County. He inherited his father’s estate in 1782 and married Charlotte Ponsonby, the daughter of John Ponsonby, the Speaker of the Irish House of Commons, in 1780. They had no children.
Denis Bowes Daly was a member of the Irish Parliament from 1776 to 1800, representing Galway town until 1790 and then King’s County. He was a founder member of the Irish Whig Club and a staunch opponent of the Act of Union that abolished the Irish Parliament and merged it with the British one in 1801. He continued his political career in Westminster, where he switched between Galway town and county seats until 1818. He was also appointed as muster master general of Ireland in 1806 and became a member of the Irish Privy Council.
Charlotte Bowes Daly was a well-educated and cultured woman who shared her husband’s political views and supported his career. She was also interested in literature and art and corresponded with several prominent figures of her time, such as Edmund Burke, Maria Edgeworth, and Lady Morgan. She died in 1813 and was buried in Dalystown.
The Denis and Charlotte Bowes Daly Mausoleum is a neo-classical structure that was built for the couple in the Dalystown burial ground, near Loughrea in Galway. It is one of two mausolea in the graveyard, the other one being for Denis’s cousin James Daly of Dunsandle and his wife Henrietta Maxwell.
The mausoleum is a rectangular building with a pedimented facade and four Doric columns supporting a triangular entablature. The entrance is flanked by two niches with urns and has an inscription that reads:
“Sacred to the memory of Denis Bowes Daly Esqre who departed this life on the 7th day of February 1821 aged 76 years”
“And to that of his beloved wife Charlotte daughter of John Ponsonby Esqre late Speaker of the House of Commons who died on the 8th day of April 1813 aged 53 years”
The interior of the mausoleum contains two sarcophagi with effigies of Denis and Charlotte lying side by side. The sarcophagi are decorated with garlands, wreaths, and coats of arms. The effigies are carved in white marble and show remarkable details, such as Denis’s wig, Charlotte’s dress, and their facial expressions.
The mausoleum was designed by John Lynn, a Dublin architect who also worked on several other buildings for the Daly family, such as Dunsandle House, Dalystown House, and Loughrea Cathedral. The sculptor who executed the effigies is unknown, but they are considered to be among the finest examples of neo-classical sculpture in Ireland.
The Denis and Charlotte Bowes Daly Mausoleum is testament to the love and devotion that existed between Denis and Charlotte, who were married for 33 years and remained faithful to each other until death. It is also a reflection of their status and influence in Galway society, as they were members of one of the most powerful families in the county and had connections with many prominent figures in Irish politics and culture. The mausoleum is also a showcase of their taste and appreciation for art and architecture, as they commissioned a mausoleum that displays high-quality craftsmanship and elegant design.
The Denis and Charlotte Bowes Daly Mausoleum is located in the Dalystown burial ground, which is open to the public. The mausoleum is not always open, but you can contact the local heritage officer or the Galway County Council to arrange a visit. You can also admire the exterior of the mausoleum from the graveyard, which has other interesting features, such as a medieval church ruin, a holy well, and several old gravestones.
The mausoleum is a protected structure and is part of the National Inventory of Architectural Heritage. It is also listed as a national monument by the Department of Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht. The mausoleum is maintained by the Galway County Council and the Office of Public Works, who have carried out several conservation works over the years to preserve its condition and appearance.
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