Sligo County Council and Lissadell Gets Interesting….



I had written a post under the title Sligo County Council Close Lissadell House
read it and come back if you wish……

And I have just received this email…. Sligo County Council ** Lissadell House is a client of Michaels by the way.

Mr. Donegan,
please try and get some of your facts right concerning the situation at Lissadell.

Your website dramatically announces ‘Sligo County Council close Lissadell House’.

Untrue. The Council agreed to amend the county development plan to include ‘provision’ for the “preservation of rights of way”.

This action did not change any law, but merely gave rise to due process where all interested parties could have a say.

At that point the current owners closed Lissadell House, and initiated high court proceedings _agains_t Sligo County Council.

I direct you to current reportage in yesterdays and todays Irish Times;

that is if you want facts, as opposed to the somewhat hysterical and rather creepy approach from your odd website.

I ask you to correct your website’s headline to: ‘Lissadell owners close their own holiday home despite Councils calls for mediation and compromise’.

from Michael Wann

* I have not replied to this email by the way.

UPDATE 21st january ’10

**Michael has been in touch again… and hence the ammendment to the the above notation. It is in fact noted on his website michaelwann[dot]com that in fact his art is in Sligo and Lissadell House rather than with Sligo County Council.

UPDATE 23nd January 2010

Michael I know you will be reading this….. please stop emailing me. 

Sligo County Council Close Lissadell House


I remember hearing about this last year in one of the trade magazines and going straight past the headline…. mainly because I thought to myself

No County Council would be stupid enough to do so….

I was extremely wrong. A major catastrophe has developed and thanks to an extremely well written piece by Rosita Boland on the Lissadell situation it has hit the headlines Ireland and in this weekends Irish Times. Well worth reading.

Let me give you the gist of the story…..

Sligo County Council could have bought this house in 2003 but chose not to. Instead the Gore family bought it for €3.75 million according to their statement  as a private property‘ [then spent €800,000 on contents]. The house at the time was almost derelict. This obviously doesn’t include maintenance and a lot of staff and to date €12 million has been invested in the estate. Lissadell house has also not received any public funding.

Second…. I’ve been to Sligo. It is very beautiful… but there isn’t a lot by way of tourist attractions and in 2008 Lissadell attracted 44,000 visitors.

Here’s where it gets a little odd….

On 1st December 2008 Sligo County Council, without any notice to us, passed a resolution that the Council “amend the current County Development Plan to include in it a provision for the preservation of the public rights of way along routes through the Lissadell Estate” in accordance with section 14 of the Planning and Development Act 2000. These routes include the path running right in front of the doors of the House itself.

Their statement continues…..

For a public right of way to exist, it must be expressly dedicated by the owner of the land. That is the law. There is no evidence that any such dedication was ever made over any part of the Lissadell Estate, either when it was a 4,000 acre estate, or when it was reduced to the current 400 acres in the 1960s. Indeed it would defy common sense to dedicate as a public road an internal path right beside the front door of your house.

Whats funny now is that on Tuesday the family must defend themselves in court against Sligo County Council. Can you imagine if this were to happen to you…..? This is  ridiculous. And Sligo County Council should be ashamed of themselves.  According to Rosita Bolands article it was difficult to find anyone to speak on the record or in support of the councils actions. This includes Joe Leonard who was the brains behind this issue…..

My suggestion….. send Joe an email or give a call and let him know how you feel.

Councillor Joe Leonard

Drumcliffe Elected Member
Party: Fine Gael
Elected: 1985
Address: Cloonaghbawn Ballinfull Co Sligo
Phone: 071 9163443

In closing Constance Cassidy and her husband Eamon Walsh note

OUR VISION was to transform the estate into a flagship for tourism in Sligo and the North West, and to provide a secure environment for our seven children……

………..We have avoided the easy options to exploit and develop Lissadell commercially, but there is only so much one family can do. If we do not enjoy the support of the councillors who represent the people of Sligo then our efforts are at naught. Why would anyone continue?

Edward Walsh, Constance Cassidy and family.

UPDATE: As usual, I have emailed both Joe Leonard and Lisadell House to let them know of this piece. As yet Joe Leonard has not responded

Oh by the way this is the same Joe Leonard with *the famous poster 😉


see post: Lissadell House gets interesting

UPDATE: The Sodshow speaks with Keith McNair

How one ‘should’ deal with [online] criticism [?]

Recently, I did a review of The Rothe House Gardens in Kilkenny. It is recommended to read it and the comments for this post to make sense. Read it and pop back here after…..

I’ve done many reviews. Some of the places I’ve seen were a disgrace. Some amazing. But the intention is not to cause upset, rather to give an honest appraisal. In most cases I have emailed the department or association.

I did get a comment in on The Rothe House review after some time though. It was from Roisín McQuillan the manager of The Rothe House in Kilkenny. And I replied. I also picked up the phone that evening and rang Roisín. After she sent me on this mail. The above images were attached.

Hi Peter

Thanks for your phone call this afternoon, it was great to speak to you.  As we discussed, I’m sending you some images of the garden ‘before’ and ‘after’, so that you can see the work which has been done to get us to where we are today.

The garden has been reconstructed by Rothe House Trust Limited and Kilkenny Archaeological Society, as part of its Conservation Plan.  The objective was to reconstruct a 17th century urban garden.  A steering committee was formed, chaired by Dearbhala Ledwidge, Heritage Officer with Kilkenny County Council. This committee undertook research into the design of the garden, which was complemented by an extensive archaeological dig.

The plot of land had been used by the OPW as a carpark and storage facility, and the whole area was overlaid with 3ft of concrete.  There were various sheds around the area which had to be pulled down. Funding was received from Fáilte Ireland, Kilkenny Borough Council and Kilkenny Civic Trust, with the balance being raised by private fundraising.  The final cost of the project was over €600,000.

The work began in January 2006, when the area was cleared and the dig commenced. This dig found over 2,000 artefacts relating to life in the garden area over 700 years (as far back as the Cistercians in the 1300s).  The results of the dig determined the final design of the garden, as we sought to be as authentic as possible to the original design. The planting beds of the 17th century were located, and these have been positioned in the exact spot.  Cross walls which were built after the 17th century were knocked, and a new wall was built on the line of a wall which had originally been there.  A master stonemason was employed to restore the original boundary walls, and new walls were built where gaps had occurred over the years.

The planting scheme is as authentic as we can make it. Research was undertaken into the types of plants which were grown in the 17thGardener’s Labyrinth which she uses as her ‘bible’ for planting.  We include vegetables, herbs, aromatic plants, fruit trees and shrubs, bulbs etc.  Each autumn we plant bulbs, all of which have a pedigree going back to the late 16th or early 17th century. These have given us great colour in the garden last Spring. century. Mary, our Gardener, plays close attention to the

I attach two images at present, one before the work began and one shortly after the garden was opened. You can see the amount of work which had to be completed.

The Garden was officially opened by Mrs Mary McAleese, President of Ireland, on 11th April 2008, and in its first summer it won the Regional and National Landscape Awards with the Tidy Towns Competition.

Next week, I will send you some further images of the garden to illustrate the amount of work which was done to ensure that the Garden opened on time, and within budget.

As I explained, we are now embarking on our final Capital Project, the Renaissance Project, which will re-present the entire House & garden to the public in a new and very exciting way.

With kind regards, and have a good weekend.
Róisín McQuillan
Rothe House, Kilkenny

So now I have an invitation to visit and to meet and greet those responsible for the grounds. Roisín has done her job extremely well. Fact. And those who never knew about The Rothe House Trust House and Gardens are now a little wiser. Bulaidh bós Roisín. Standing ovation.

By the way, very logically they have also put their sat nav co ordinates up on their website. Smart people.

What do you think….?

Sat Nav Co-ords: 52o 39.3’ N, 7o 15.3’ W

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Malahide Demesne

The first Sunday of March I went to Malahide Castle [also called park or demesne]. I like the park. I’ve been here before. But it’s been a while.

As an open space – I love it. But the park holds much more than green fields.

On the one hand I wouldn’t mind if there were some exemplary bedding displays. But also the model railway museum was closed and the Talbot Botanic gardens of the park were closed. I understand why the park would close them from a horticultural point of view – but I want to see ‘a specific plant’ at its worst [overwintering state] and at it’s finest. I want to see it as it progresses through the seasons. Thats what I’d like. A little one to many paddlocks and closed gates – with notice of opening times by the month…. ,

However, it does have an amazing playgorund. It is in the overall context very well maintained. The coffee shop is great. It’s got the little craft stores contained within. Outside of that, the backdrop of the castle is glorious. The grounds are in itself well layed out and it is constantly busy. No matter what I say – I still spent a good 3 hours there and loved roaming the ‘lesser’ routes with ‘herself’.

waste money, not water…?

water conservation?

water conservation?

Like all, almost all, some semi state employees when its not your money, why should you care? Benchmarking? hmmm….

Here’s a top tip: sell umberellas and wellingtons in the rainy season and sunscreen and sunglasses in the sunny season or in this case promote ‘your’ waterbutts when its raining and water conservation when its not.

Butt [?!] what do I know. I’m just being logic.

This courtesy of Conor Popes Blog. Well done mate, again.

I’ve just heard what might the most pointless ad ever broadcast on Irish radio. It was from the water conservation people and urged listeners not to use hoses to water their grass. Sorry, what? Did someone really think it was absolutely necessary to spend money – our money – on cautioning people against watering their grass with a hose? Just when are we supposd to be out watering the grass? In between sandbagging our houses keep the torrential rains out? Pity they haven’t heard of money conservation.