Grace Kelly, Actress and Princess

Grace Kelly, People from County Mayo in the West of Ireland


Grace Kelly was an Irish-American actress with Mayo roots. She married Prince Ranier III of Monaco to become Princess Grace.

Grace Kelly's Mayo Roots

The Kelly family were originally from Ireland and like many Irish-Americans she was raised Catholic and taught to value her Irish roots. Her grandfather on her father's side, John Peter Kelly, was originally from Drimurla, just outside Newport in County Mayo. He left the cottage that was his birthplace and home in 1887 and emigrated to Philadelphia.

Acting career and marriage to Prince Ranier

Grace had a love of performance from an early age and, with encouragement from her uncle, her talent for acting emerged. She graduated from the American Academy of Dramatic Arts at the age of 19. Grace would go onto star alongside Frank Sinatra, Bing Crosby and others, her natural beauty complementing her acting talent to help her achieve fame and adulation.

While attending the Cannes Film festival in 1955 she met Prince Ranier of Monaco and the pair were engaged within the year. They were married in the Cathedral in Monaco and Princess Grace lived a dream-life in a hilltop palace that overlooked the sea.

Visiting her Irish roots

Princess Grace made three trips to Mayo during which time she visited and ultimately purchased the cottage where her grandfater had grown up. On her third trip in 1979 she made plans to build a holiday home in Drimurla, however these never came to fruition as Grace died tragically in a car accident in 1982. Her son, Prince Albert, visited the cottage in April 2011 to remember her Irish roots, 50 years after she had made her first visit to Ireland.