Tuesday 24 October 2017

Honeymoon couple return 58 years on to make nuns the wiser

John and
Abbey, Co
John and Maura Culleton outside Kylemore Abbey, Co Galway during their return visit

Brian McDonald

Almost 60 years after their honeymoon in Kylemore Abbey in Connemara, a couple have returned to confess about a night of high jinks to an order of nuns.

Former international boxer John Culleton (82) and his bride Maura Sweeney, now 80, were married in Dublin in August 1953 and travelled to Kylemore Abbey, a popular honeymoon destination at the time.

Run by the Benedictine Sisters, the guest house was in a spectacular setting and John and Maura were soon at home there.

But on the second night of a fun-filled holiday, they took off to the local pub and failed to return at the hour appointed by Mother Superior. In the early hours, they found they had no way in -- lights were out and all doors were locked.

Thankfully, a visiting priest, in a similarly "happy" state, turned up and proposed to climb up the ivy and drainpipes to gain entry through an open window. The reverend gentleman made it safely and let John and Maura in.

Such exertions required a drink to recover but soon afterwards it was discovered that the room they had entered was locked. Further ingenuity was employed and all eventually made it safely to bed.

But a major investigation ensued the following morning as Mother Superior attempted to find out how windows were left open, fires lit and used glasses left on tables.

The mystery of the day was never resolved--until now.

"Their honeymoon stories have become something of a family legend," their son Paul said.

The family decided to treat their parents to a surprise return visit to Connemara and the Benedictine Sisters were delighted to welcome them back and finally shed light on the mysterious events of 1953.

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