Most of us give little thought to our final resting place, but if you are looking for a spectacular monument to your time on this earth, you might be inspired by the Howard Mausoleum in Kilbride cemetery in Arklow, Wicklow. Described by 20th-century English poet Sir John Betjeman as the largest pyramid tomb “beyond the banks of the Nile,” the structure was installed in 1785 as a burial vault for the Howard family of nearby Shelton Abbey. It is in the process of being restored by the Arklow Marine and Heritage Committee, in partnership with TÚS.
Image Credit: © Murt Phillips
The mausoleum is believed to be the work of English sculptor and stonecutter Simon Vierpyl, who was inspired by the 18th-century fascination with Greek, Roman, and Egyptian architecture to create a pyramid. Set on a height about 2km north of Arklow, overlooking the river Avoca, the granite-block pyramid rises some 9 metres high and is easily visible for miles around.
Image Credit: Sam@Flickr
The last recorded burial took place in 1823, but legend has it that there was a subsequent one. Reputedly, a baby Howard was interred in the pyramid, and the sound of a child crying at night was reported by tenants living at Kilbride for weeks afterward. The body was then moved to another burial place, apparently, and the crying ceased. The pyramid was sealed, never to be used again.
Apart from this tomb with a view, Wicklow is brimming with attractions from mountains to monuments, and it’s within easy reach of Dublin, making it a perfect touring base. Check out the selection of holiday homes in Wicklow available on PlacesToStay.com and get ready to explore.