Sunday, 12 August 2018

Cultra Manor Memories


On old maps of the 1830s the demesne is spelled "Cultraw", hence the pronunciation in use today.

"I CAME across your blog when searching for information about the Kennedys who formerly lived at Cultra Manor, now part of the Ulster Folk Museum.

I grew up there.

My father was live-in caretaker at the Folk Museum from approximately 1961 till 1977, when he retired.

The resident caretaker position was not replaced.

We lived in a flat at the manor house for about ten years (it was riddled with rats and birds falling down the old chimneys), and then moved to the Gate Lodge when it was renovated for us.

We moved in not long after it was taken over as a museum and before extensive renovation had been carried out on the estate.

It was an ideal childhood for two little girls.

I dimly remember meeting Miss Katherine Kennedy walking her dogs when we were small.

She lived with her sister in the house they had built on the outskirts of the demesne.

She was very kind to two little girls and my parents were very fond of her.

I have been particularly sad to see the neglect of the Kennedy’s graveyard.

They were very fond of their dogs and horses, and had an animals’ graveyard outside the main graveyard complete with small, engraved headstones.

I haven’t been to the Folk Museum for years - I find it too sad – but saw all the animal gravestones had gone.

I also found the neglect and destruction of the rockery with beautiful old roses and rare trees very sad – it was once like a maze, with beautiful trees and plants around every corner.

The Kennedys collected rare plants and trees during their travels.

The entire grounds had been carefully landscaped and I find it a shame that this beauty could not be retained within the structure of a modern museum.

I note the Folk Museum is holding tours for European Heritage Open Days, including talks on the Kennedys – I hope they tidy the graveyard at least.

I agreed with your blog."

First published in August, 2016.

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