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An Garda Siochana are investigating a second serious act of criminal damage to the historic Mountain Lodge, which has angered the local community in Burncourt and surrounding areas. This has put plans for its conservation in serious doubt, which would be a huge loss to the heritage of the locality. This latest attack makes it imperative that all interested parties get together and come up with a plan of action to save the building before it's too late, locals believe.
Wanton vandalism and an unprecedented disregard for one of the few remnants remaining of the Shanbally Estate occurred during the past week, with further damage caused to Mountain Lodge in Coillte's Glengarra Woods. This is the second act of serious damage to this 19th century building, a beautiful circular former shooting lodge, the property of Viscount Lismore.
Prior to the lodge been given over to the Forestry Commission and subsequently to An Oige, it was in the ownership of Lady Beatrice Pole Carew and Lady Constance Butler. Indeed, the plaque on the wall bears the citation that “An Oige enjoys this hostel through the generosity of Lady Beatrice Pole Carew and Lady Constance Butler, Shanbally Castle”.
The first instance of a mindless and serious attack on the building occurred within the last two years, shortly after An Oige closed the lodge. This saw the breaking of all the double lancet windows in the lodge, windows in the Gothic Revival style, unique, possibly irreplaceable. This involved not only the breakage of the glass, but also many of the highly decorative tracery supporting window frames.
Between last Wednesday and Saturday a further attack on this local landmark, so much part of the lives of people not only from the local area, but also of the countless people who have used the hostel since 1937, was another blow. Lead has been removed from the roof, exposing the interior to the elements, which is a matter of huge concern. Ornamental ceilings, a circular sittingroom with doors to accommodate such may soon be no more as the inclement weather takes its toll.
The closure of 'The Lodge', as it is respectfully known locally, has not gone unnoticed by the local community. Burncourt Community Council has been in liaison with An Oige and other organisations with a view to subleasing Mountain Lodge and to source funding to do so. The mission of the community council is to rescue the building from becoming totally dilapidated and to conserve this local treasure. This further act of vandalism could well sound the death knell for this very worthwhile objective and at the very least, has made it questionable.
Locals in the area are asked to note any suspicious activity and notify An Garda Siochana thereof, as the community mobilises as much resources as possible to preserve this significant 19th century building for future generations.
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