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Belvedere House is a Georgian villa on the shores of Lough Ennell near Mullingar, Co. Westmeath. Open to the public, the estate features several striking follies, including the so-called “Jealous Wall,” which bears testimony to one of the most sordid family squabbles in Irish history.

Mary Molesworth (source: www.belvedere-house.com)

Mary Molesworth (source: www.belvedere-house.com)

It all started in 1936, when an ambitious aristocrat, Robert Rochfort, (later the 1st Earl of Belvedere) decided he wanted to marry a popular young woman in Dublin artistic circles, the 16-year-old Mary Molesworth. She evidently sensed he wasn’t quite the catch he appeared, as she resisted his initial advances, but her family, seduced by his power and great name, arranged the match. Read the rest of this entry »