The St. George Mausoleum,  near Kilcolgan in County Galway, is a Gothic-inspired mausoleum which was built in 1830 by Arthur F. St George, a wealthy landowner and politician, for his wife Lady Harriet St George, who died in 1829. The mausoleum is incorporated into the ruins of Drumacoo Church, which dates back to the 13th century and was founded by St. Sourney, a disciple of St. Patrick.

The mausoleum is a striking example of Gothic Revival architecture, with its pinnacles, crenellations, buttresses and pointed arches. The entrance has a carved stone surround with colonettes and a tympanum with arcaded panels and Y-tracery. Above the door, there is a plaque that reads: “This cemetery was erected on the site of an ancient family one by Arthur F. St George of Tyrone, Esq., in memory of the Right Honourable Lady Harriet St George, his wife, 7 August 1830”. Inside, there are several tombs of the St George family, some of which have elaborate carvings and inscriptions.

The mausoleum is not only a monument to the St Georges, but also a testament to their influence and power in Galway. Arthur F. St George inherited Tyrone House and Kilcolgan Castle from his father, Richard St George Mansergh-St George, who was one of the largest landowners in Ireland. Arthur was also a member of parliament for Galway County from 1826 to 1832 and supported Catholic emancipation and parliamentary reform. He was known as a benevolent landlord who improved the living conditions of his tenants and supported local industries and charities.

The mausoleum has also inspired literary works, such as the poem “Ireland with Emily” by John Betjeman, the former poet laureate of the United Kingdom. Betjeman visited the mausoleum in 1948 with his friend Emily Lyle and wrote:

“There in pinnacled protection
One extinguished family waits
A Church of Ireland resurrection
By the broken, rusty gates.
Sheepswool, straw and droppings cover,
Graves of spinster, rake and lover,
Whose fantastic mausoleum,
Sings its own seablown Te Deum,
In and out the slipping slates.”

The poem captures the contrast between the grandeur of the mausoleum and the decay of the church and the graveyard, as well as the isolation and extinction of the Anglo-Irish gentry.

The St. George Mausoleum is a fascinating place to explore and learn about the history and culture of Galway. It is located about 20 km south of Galway city, near Kilcolgan village. It is open to the public and free to visit, but please be respectful of the site and its surroundings.


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St George Mausoleum



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