Owners shut historic Irish estate

Arrogant shits.

They bought this in a vain attempt to buy themselves a bit of class. You either have it or you don’t. They quite obviously don’t.

couldn’t have said it better. now make it rhyme!

Arrogant shits? That’s a bit harsh, surely? I remember hearing about this on the radio a few months ago. The new owners had poured a fortune into upgrading the estate and grounds (including resurfacing some roads). The number of visitors increased from almost nothing to 40,000 annually.

Once the place became a success, the inevitable resentment of “outsiders” making money off of something sprang up, and a local councillor tried to capitalise on this envy by claiming rights of way on a driveway that the owners had resurfaced and maintained.

The owners have 7 kids, and the claimed right of way goes right up to their house, IIRC. I can’t say I blame them for being wary of unregulated access to their family home. If you had kids around the place and any random stranger could wander through your back garden at any hour of the night or day, you’d probably be wary too.

Having heard the councillor in question on the radio, I was left with the distinct impression that this was a simple vote grabbing exercise that had gotten out of hand. He kept emphasising that this was an amenity for “local people” that had been enjoyed for years, and that he wasn’t being unfair, he was just standing up for the “good, local people” who were being denied their birthright to walk up a road that the council had left go to ruin so that they could look in a window and see how rich people lived.

They tried to push these people around, playing games with their home, and ultimately wound up killing the golden goose. It’s unfortunate, but I’m not at all sure I’d blame the owners

The owners are two barristers IIRC.

Its probably being closed due to fall off in tourist and therefore visiter numbers and the agrument over right of way is a red herring.

Pathetic post mate. While a degree of arrogance is probably a trait associated with most succesful barristers, a bit like selfishness with top strikers, you clearly know nothing about the background to the purchase and renovation of this property.

Rest assured it is all about the right of way.

Agreed. I am not familiar with this case, but the post by Metalmike is completely inappropriate. An unprovoked verbal attack like that is hardly classy either. Pot kettle black etc.

Only semi related but wasnt Westport House about to close one time because insurance costs were too high?
Its still open isnt it? Must of been 2003 when I heard that, sometime around then anyway

It may also be due to the fact that they were getting capital allowances against their taxable income for any renovation work. This is contingent on the public being given access to the house for a certain number of days each year. Now that the renovation is complete, maybe they’re not so keen on Joe Public traipsing around any more, even though we effectively ‘own’ half of the house.

I know one of their neighbours.
There were other rights of way that were peripheral to the house which also got blocked. One was to a lake used for fishing that was on the very edge of the estate and that got blocked with barbed wire.


The tax allowances (Sec 482 TCA 1997… I think) are withdrawn if the house ceases to be open to the public within a long period of time.

a thought just struck me, if the state (i.e the people) want a house that they can walk around with gardens etc
why doesnt the state provide one? Sure we wont have the history but so what?
How hard would it be to build a house to a design that is several hundred years old?
These people bought this with their own money, if we want it why didnt we buy it?

Just another viewpoint. Not sure if I subscribe to it myself but I like to throw things out there!
The people put money into the house and estate and the council want to be free riders pretty much?

Indeed, I have a friend who is doing such a thing (rebuilding an old castle) and he has a grant to return the gardens to their former glory with the condition that they be opened to the public once rebuilding is complete.

Can you PM me the details of the grant I have a bit of lawn out back and wonder if I can get a grant to get some local bucko to come and trim it a couple of times a year, public are welcome to come and have a gawk if the want…its green and grassy

My sister lives in Surrey and spends her days walking around the village , she has rights of way and hours of walks thru all the large estates nearby, some of whihc are owned by the richest people in England, the Saudis love her dog cos its an Irish terrier.

I’d be pretty sure that most of the people visiting the house do so solely because it was the home of Constance and Eva Gore-Booth. Two very interesting historical figures. According to Josslyn Gore-Booth speaking to the BBC in 2003 part of the terms of the sale were that the house would remain open to the public. So Walsh and Campbell may not have the right to close the house. Or this may be an excuse to close it as it may have been more hassle than it was worth to keep it open.

“They are an Irish couple. They are interested in living here as their family home and the house will continue to remain open to the public under terms that they will agree in due course,” he said. "

You can’t buy public rights-of-way. No offence, but doffing your cap to the big house just confirms you’re a peasant.

CPO the gaff and grounds. €1.

That post is a gross injustice against those poor people

€2 maybe?

I visited there last summer. It is a very interesting place, historicaly important etc. On the guided tour we were shown the new wallpaper which cost thousands of euro to have reproduced. However it has started to peel off the walls already!!! It seems to me that the work is very superficial in nature. The roof should have been fixed first. Much of the work is tasteless, for example, replacement limestone pillars which support a guard rail along by a moate, are completly out of keeping with what is there already. They were cut on a modern CNC saw, and do not at all match the old hand chiselled ones. something of the Garden Center about the place…very expensive coffee shop too.

BTW the Gore Boothes were never absentee landlords, the current owners are.

From the TCA:

***if relief has been given under this section in respect
of qualifying expenditure incurred in relation to that
building in the period of 5 years ending on the date
from which the revocation has effect, that relief shall
be withdrawn and there shall be made all such
assessments or additional assessments as are necessary
to give effect to this subsection.

Well they bought it in 2003 and their own website says the renovations started in 2004 so they are in and around that 5 year mark for avoiding clawback. I would assume that the bulk of the expensive work was incurred in the first year.

From The Sunday Business Post 22/1/06:

*"From the beginning both Constance and I determined to open Lissadell to the public in a genuine way, as opposed to what I’d describe as paying lip service to open 60 days a year in order to qualify for tax relief.

The first year we were open 150 days, the second 180, and this year it will be 207. But there’s a certain level of usage that a house can accept and excessive usage leads to attrition."*

archives.tcm.ie/businesspost/200 … y11110.asp

From the same paper 21/9/03:

*The mayor of Sligo welcomed the family to the area, expressed his disappointment that the state had not secured the house, and said he hoped that the people of Sligo would continue to have access to the property. *

And now to their own statement regarding the closure:

“In undertaking the restoration of Lissadell we have not received any public funding.”

Full relief aginst the top rate of tax certainly counts as public funding in my opinion.

“There was no suggestion by Sligo County Council that the internal roads or paths were subject to any public rights of way.”


So how does that tally with the statement by the mayor which indicates that there was some kind of access/right of way issue associated with the house? TBH, I made my first comment largely to make mischief because I have huge problems with many of the tax reliefs in this country. (See my other comments regarding artists exemption and the renovation of the Christina O.) I don’t think the average PAYE worker should be subsidising people to play Lord of the Manor. Now that I’ve had a closer look I’m calling definite shenanigans here. Ever get the feeling you’ve been cheated?