Lissadell House

Lissadell house is a stately home north of Sligo town in an area called Lissadell, appropriately enough.

It used to be owned by the Gore booth family, the most famous of whom was Countess Markievicz.  Its other claim to fame is through the poet W B Yeats who was a frequent visitor there.

It had become completely run down over the years as a lot of these places do.  I can remember going there as a child with my father to pick bluebells and feeling sorry for the poor people who had to live in such an ugly house.

Five years ago, it was sold to two barristers, Edward Walsh and Constance Cassidy to be used as a family home.

They did a terrific job with the place as far as I can see.  They moved in with their family of seven and set about restoring the house.  They put in a teashop at the back and restored the gardens.  They set up a shop selling their garden produce and Irish giftware

They opened to the public and have done well, attracting up to 40,000 visitors.

They have now closed it and are  pursuing a high court case against Sligo County  Council over alleged ( if that word is not inserted the writer is liable to be sued) public right of way issues.

They were given a signed certificate by the previous owner Sir Josslyn Gore Booth that no such alleged right of ways existed.

Some of the locals disagree, (how many I do not know).

In December 2008, Sligo County Council decided to make provision for these alleged right of way issues in the County Development Plan.

The owners of Lissadell house closed down. No more pussyfooting around with the County Council.

There are many sides to this fight.  The locals have been doing things a certain way for generations.  The Walsh and Cassidy family are trying to raise a family and are entitled to their privacy.  They have invested their own money in this project and want to control access to their property

In the middle is the County Council who are capable of sitting on this for eons.

Not this time.


11 Responses to “Lissadell House”

  1. Trevor Sweeney Says:

    It seems to me there are two possible truths about this situation – okay, I know there are always more but, if this goes to the High Court, where Mr. Walsh seems determined to bring it, there are only two which must be addressed and one which must be determined.

    1. There is no “legal” right-of way, open to the public or certain of the locals, through the estate, as claimed by the homeowners.
    2. There is a “legal” right-of-way through the estate open to the public or certain of the locals.

    If No.1 is the case then Mr. Walsh and Ms.Cassidy are correct. In which case Sligo Co. Council and anybody who disagrees can take a running jump.
    If No.2 is the case then Mr.Walsh and Ms.Cassidy are obliged to deal with whoever is claiming this legal right-of-way.

    While I admire Mr.Walsh’s cojones in claiming absolute authority and ownership of property he actually owns (what a novel idea), and while I have no great sympathy for people who claim some vague and ill-defined legacy on the basis that “we’ve been doing it for generations” I do suspect that Mr. Walsh is committed to bringing this to a nasty conclusion. He seems intent on forcing this to an end-game from which he and his wife emerge as the victims (I base this purely on reading recent newspaper reports).

    • recessionwoman Says:

      Well put, Trevor, though I could not hazard a guess as to where anyone is planning to go with this. That would be way off my radar.

  2. magnumlady Says:

    I think if the County Council were that bothered about the house then they should have bought it when it was up for sale.
    I agree with Mr. Walsh and Ms. Cassidy that you would not want people walking and driving past your front door at all hours of the day.

  3. Thanetwarrior Says:

    I have great admiration for anyone who creates a business and provides local employment. Although I have to say that in the case of this venture it is exceptional, providing a memory to some of this countries most remarkable people. Mr Walsh and Ms Cassidy must be commended in taking this on for the nation when the Government and County Council walked away. In fact it could be said that the ‘State’ would have rather watch it crumble, as so many great Irish houses have in the past.
    Lissadell I salute you. Sligo County Council should think again.

    • recessionwoman Says:

      Yes they have done great work and provided employment. It’s very sad that all of that appears to be for naught.

  4. A. Says:

    Around 100 people will lose their jobs – jobs created by Ed Walsh & Constance Cassidy – if Sligo County Council persists in this case. Walsh & Cassidy are barristers, of course they’re going to take their case to court – but even if they win, there’s no guarantee they’ll want to stay put.

    • recessionwoman Says:

      It’s terrible to think of 100 people (or anyone), for that matter losing their jobs. If Lissadell is already closed where are those jobs?

  5. Onthecelticroad Says:

    As a visitor to Lissadell , I’m curious why the owners would purchase this property as a “private” residence, open it up to 40,000 strangers and then voice concern over privacy and safety – from a few local residents! Something sounds wrong. Is it possible this may be for publicity? Since both owners are very prominent barristers, I’m sure they feel very confident in winning this battle in court.

    • recessionwoman Says:

      You make a shrewd observation. I find the whole Lissadell situation to be “curiouser and curiouser”

  6. thanetwarrior Says:

    The Lissadell poker game continues as the High Court reserves judgement. Stakes run high and neither side can walk away now as legal bills presently stand at around six million euros. Whatever the outcome, it is ironic that Sligo County Council showed no interest in the property earlier, when it was bought for four million. Is it possible that they might now have to pay a bigger price and have nothing to show for it. I wonder what the Sligo ratepayers think about that.

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