Angel watching over
My life is like a broken stair winding round a ruined tower and leading nowhere. Tennyson
Once upon a summer day in a hedgerow humming with honeysuckled bees, we made a chilling discovery. A mausoleum lay hidden in the greenery, and housed within it, twin lead coffins, side-by-side. We peered through the open grill with a mixture of terror and morbid fascination as my father explained that it was Lord and Lady Mc Kenna of the nearby castle, who had chosen a corner of a nearby field to be their final resting place. Decades later, the window has now been blocked up, the tangle of hedgerows cleared and a fallen angel reinstated to guard over the tomb. Tennyson’s line is inscribed beneath and alongside of it:
What a volume in a word, an ocean in a tear, a sent heaven in a glance, a whirlwind in a sigh.
McKenna Castle, or Ardo House as it is also known, has macabre tales of smuggling, a lynched heir and a buried child. The castle, though ruined, still stands with its ghosts and its memories. When I returned there a few weeks ago with my sisters, I couldn’t help imagine all of the souls who had lived and worked there and what a bustling place it must have been, with its stables, a walled orchard and wonderful cliff-top views. Despite the chilling stories I have read about the history of the place, the overwhelming feeling is one of poignancy for the couple who lie side-by-side in a corner of a field that will be forever theirs. Love endures, and may they rest in peace on this All Hallows Eve…