ABBEYFEALE HERITAGE TRAIL
PRINCESS CRISTINA di BELGIOJOSO
1808 – 1871
LOCATION – THE SQUARE, ABBEYFEALE
A Heritage Plaque identifies the Building formally known as Leahy’s Inn where Princess Cristina di Belgiojoso is registered in old Business Records on 2nd Oct 1839 as hiring 4 horses – Mouse, Jack, Poll & Nancy – and 2 drivers – Brown & Farrell – for her onward journey by Carriage following her visit to Abbeyfeale. These are the only known surviving records of her stay in Ireland.
Cristina came from a very wealthy and privileged Italian background, married a Prince at 16, separated shortly afterwards and became involved with revolutionaries in the fight for Italy’s independence. She lost her huge inheritance due to her actions and was forced into exile in France. She bought an apartment in Paris, raised funding for a Saloon which became a focal point for intellectuals and revolutionaries across Europe – all this by the age of 22
Nine years after touring Ireland she funded and commanded her own Army into war but again her efforts failed. Shortly afterwards she went into exile in the Middle East and Turkey along with daughter Maria. In 1856 she returned again, this time through the political system where Independence was finally accomplished in 1861. She retired and died near her beloved Milan aged 63
Research & Design Maurice O’Connell 2017