RESTORATION WORK is underway at Glengarra Mountain Lodge, a major project undertaken by Burncourt Community Council. A key element of the work is the replacment of the badly damaged roof and forty per cent of this has already been done. In addition two roof windows have been replaced.
The latest work was a general clean up on the site in September by a local voluntary group. Mountain Lodge is an iconic South Tipperary building in the heritage landscape of Munster, located on the foothills of the Galty Mountains and within the Burncourt area. Mountain Lodge was a hunting lodge, part of the Shanbally Estate and designed by John Nash who also designed the now-demolished Shanbally Castle.
Mountain Lodge is one of the few architectural remains of the estate. The building is owned by Coillte Teo and was leased to An Oige for use as Youth Hostel for the nominal sum of €10 per annum. The Youth Hostel was closed by An Oige in 2012.
The building has been vandalised twice; the windows were broken and the roof lead stripped resulting in broken slates and roof damage. Burncourt Community Council has taken on the task of restoring the building with a ten-year lease to facilitate restoration works and a period of use.
The primary reason for the project is to ensure the building survives. The project is housed in Burncourt Community Council but it is expected that help will come from the wider area. Burncourt Community Council is a community-based voluntary group elected by the people of Burncourt and with representatives from various stands of community activities and interests.
The Mountain Lodge project was taken on board as the building is importantto the community but also to those in the wider area who have visited the site, perhaps over several years. Everyone involved in this project wants to restore and maintain this beautiful and unique building. When complete, the building can be put to use as a Hill-walkers stop, seasonal café, use as a venue for community events and some accommodation.
This will generate some income which can be re-invested in the building and to defray running costs. Some local employment may also be generated. Much of the damage caused to the building was when the lead was stripped from the roof.
The remainder of the roof has some areas where the slates are perished and water ingress is damaging the interior. The curved section of the roof will be a slow and difficult section to re-roof. All the windows were broken when the building was vandalised two years ago. These will have to be repaired. Other minor works include interior decorative work. In order to proceed with remedial works a conservation strategy was commissioned. Funding of €15,000 has been secured from the Structures at Risk Fund (Dept. of Arts Heritage and the Gaeltacht). This is a nationally-available fund and each local authority can submit two projects for inclusion in the scheme. Tipperary County Council submitted Mountain Lodge Restoration as one of the projects. Burncourt Community Council provided 20% of the funding (€3,000). This funding is allocated solely for roof repair. A grant of €850 was also obtained from Tipperary Council Heritage Grant scheme. This was for window repair. Work is now underway on this and good progress is expected.
A South Tipperary community plan to restore an iconic building designed by the renowned architect John Nash.
Glengarra Mountain Lodge at the former Shanbally Estate is a stately structure that has fallen into disrepair as well as being targetted by vandals for the lead in its roof. Now Burncourt Community Council are restoring it as a vital community resource. They plan to restore the former shooting lodge into a resource for events, hill walkers and a retreat for artists and writers, including a cafe in the summer. In recent times the lodge was a youth hostel. The building is leased to An Oige, who run youth hostels, but they don’t have the funds to carry out the necessary repairs.
The restoration of the building is a major undertaking for Burncourt Community Council and they plan to seek assistance from neighbouring communities to help preserve a building that’s a resource to the entire region. Glengarra Lodge was built as a shooting lodge for the first Viscount Lismore, Cornelius O’Callaghan, and is located on land that once formed part of Shanbally Castle estate. Shanbally Castle was built in 1810 and like the lodge was designed by one of the most important British architects of the time, John Nash, who also designed Regent Street and Regent Park in London, the Brighton pavilion and alterations to Buckingham Palace. Shanbally Castle was once the largest of Nash’s buildings in Ireland but was demolished in 1957.
The lodge is a protected strucutre and is also included in the National Inventory of Architectural Heritage where it is given architectural, artistic and social categories of special interest. The fact that so much of the original building has survived contributes further to the significance of the lodge. The roof has been replaced but almost all other architectural and internal features are retained, including the neo-Gothic small pane timber sash windows. The building was vandalised twice. Initially all the windows were broken and the glazing bars destroyed. The windows are now boarded up. Later the lead was stripped from the roof and this created holes which allowed water ingress.
Coillte Teo, the owners of the building have completed temporary repairs. Now as part of the new plan, Burncourt Community Council are awaiting a sub-lease from An Oige which will allow them access to the structure to begin the restoration. A spokesperson said – “We consider this building to be hugely important in terms of the architectural heritage of Tipperary as well as of the Munster region. “It is essential that the roof is replaced and that the interior is secured from further water damage as well as from the overall effects of poor weather.” The Council has secured €15,000 funding from the Structures at Risk Fund which will allow partial repair of the roof. This will be an-ongoing project and it is envisaged that it will take several years to complete and restore. Burncourt Community Council will need a lot of help with this project from the wider area, as well as grant-aid, and has asked that the wider community in the area (Clogheen, Ballyporeen, Ballylooby, Cahir and Mitchelstown) come on board to help fund raise for this project. “We have had support from those areas. We have also received a good deal of support and positive feedback from Tipperary County Council”, the spokesperson said. The partial repair of the roof is due to begin in August.