Last week when my Mum was visiting Ireland, we drove down to Cork where my ancestral home Vernon Mount is located. This once grand house was built for my great, great, great, great, GREAT (I think!) Grandpa Atwell Hayes in the 1700's. Atwell soon leased the house to his son, Sir Henry Browne Hayes. Sir Henry was a crazy character. He kidnapped a wealthy woman in Cork and unlawfully forced her to marry him. When he was caught, he was sentenced to hang - but as he was a freemason and had friends in high places, he was deported to Australia in 1801 as a convict instead. That's how my family ended up in Australia! Sir Henry was sent to Sydney, where he subsequently bought land which he named Vaucluse, and he also built Vaucluse House which still stands today. Somehow despite being transported as a convict, Sir Henry managed to get himself pardoned, and then became knighted, before being allowed to move back to Ireland. Eh? I'm not quite sure how he managed that.
A short time before I was born, Vernon Mount was offered to my great Grandma, my Popper's mum in Australia. Our family didn't have enough money to restore or manage the upkeep of Vernon Mount (not to mention our line of the Hayes's all live in Australia and relocating to Ireland was never going to happen) so Popper's mum let it go.
My mum and sister were visiting Ireland last year in June and tried to find Vernon Mount but were unsuccessful. It's kind of hidden up a large hill behind a forest. Unfortunately about 2 weeks after my mum and sister left Ireland, Vernon Mount fell victim to an arson attack - which has destroyed the house completely. All that remains now are the outer walls and the iron fireplace. My mum was devastated.
So last week during my mum's visit we were determined to find it. And we did! There was a certain magic in coming 'home' to a place where your ancestors lived. I'm so lucky to have been able to stand in the doorway and gaze over what is left of Vernon Mount. My dream is to one day be able to purchase what's left of Vernon Mount and restore it.
#vernonmount #cork #ireland #vauclusehouse