A Shoddy Welcome

As many readers will be aware, a splendid book was recently published on one of Ireland’s finest country houses, Townley Hall, County Louth (see Of the Highest Standard « The Irish Aesthete). The building and immediate surroundings have been meticulously maintained by its current custodians but the same cannot be said for the organisation responsible for the wider grounds, including the entrance. Both the gates and the lodge here were, like the house itself, designed by Francis Johnston and ought therefore to be kept in good condition. The photographs above show their state in January, and those below in April: already in poor shape, over those intervening months the gate posts have become even more dilapidated and unless there is due intervention, their future has to be in doubt. The owner in this instance is a state body, Coillte which has an almost unrivalled reputation for neglecting historic buildings supposed to be in its care – cf. Donadea Castle, County Kildare (Another Blot on the Landscape « The Irish Aesthete), Rockingham, County Roscommon (Differing Fates I « The Irish Aesthete) and many other sites. If Coillte cannot look after such properties – and clearly it can’t – then the organisation should hand over responsibility for their maintenance to another body which will show more concern for the protection of our national heritage. It’s worth pointing out that the relevant local authority, Louth County Council, ought by now to have intervened and instructed Coillte to restore these gateposts: in their present state, they provide a very shoddy welcome to Townley Hall and its woodlands. 

7 comments on “A Shoddy Welcome

  1. teresastokes says:

    Where is this? There is no writing apart from the phrase “text here” !!

  2. Vincent Delany says:

    It is not only the incendarists of the civil war period who have led to the demise of the rural big house in Ireland. It is also neglect, carelessness, and the failures of the planning system.

  3. Tim Guilbride says:

    Well said! Too many properties in public hands are allowed to rot, when, if they were privately owned, the councils would come down on them.

  4. Kieran White says:

    Damaged gates and pillars occur if the gates are left open. Reversing trucks and tractor trailers inflict a lot of damage. If the gates are closed the reversing can’t happen. I speak from personal experience.

  5. Maria Walsh says:

    Oops!! looks like something hit it!

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