A few photos from our visit to Belvedere House, located outside Mullingar in Westmeath, Ireland.
Belvedere House was a Georgian villa built in 1740 by Robert Rochfort, Lord Belfield from designs by renowned architect Richard Cassells. It was originally designed to be a hunting lodge or holiday villa but later became the main residence of Robert Rochfort, after he accused his wife Mary Molesworth of having an alleged affair with his brother Arthur Rochfort. Robert was told of the affair by his younger brother George, who disliked Mary. Mary was said to have confessed but only under force and Arthur fled the country, pursued by his brother who planned to shoot him on sight, he returned a few years later and was sued by Robert for the alleged affair and fined 20,000 pounds, Arthur couldn’t pay and ended up in a debtor’s marshalsea prison.
Rochfort had his wife Mary, imprisoned in their family home at Gaulstown for the next 31 years, with no outside communication allowed with family or friends only some servants. She once escaped and returned to her father’s house in Dublin but he sent her back. Mary’s plight only came to an end, when Robert died and her son George had her released. Robert Rochfort became known as the Wicked Earl for his treatment of his wife.
Belvedere House and gardens is today run by Westmeath county council and you can go inside the house and view some of the rooms and the downstairs kitchen, there is also a cafe, gift shop, Victorian walled garden, a fairy garden, play ground for kids and lakeside walks which run along Lough Ennell and includes three large garden follies or sham ruins that Robert Rochfort, later known as Lord Belvedere had built, one is called the Jealous Wall which resembles the ruins of an abbey, he had it built in the 18th century to obscure his view of his younger brother George’s new larger house called Tudenham Park.
For opening times and directions, check out the Belvedere House website.