The National Trust for Ireland- An Taisce
The Irish property slump has created new problems of dereliction and abandonment of architecturally important buildings throughout the country.
While the focus of media attention has understandably been on ghost estates and the plight of residents living in uncompleted developments, there is a parallel problem of dereliction and abandonment of our historic built heritage. This is a particular issue in Limerick City where the out of town growth has particularly failed the urban centre.
Across the country, major Country Houses which were to be conserved as part of development schemes are now lying empty following the economic collapse. Carriglass Manor (the home of Jane Austin’s former love interest) in Co. Longford and Whitfield Court in Co Waterford are just too examples.
The most significant case in the Dublin City area is Aldborough House, the last great mansion of the 18th century, located near the 5 lamps off Amiens Street. The fate of the fine 18th century house at Belcamp in Fingal which has suffered serious fire damage is a warning to be heeded.
Many fine educational buildings in Ireland are also at risk of dereliction. Loreto College in Rathfarnham, South Dublin is one of the most imposing examples of Victorian architecture in the city. For 247 years, it was a girls boarding school, though the school closed its doors in 1999. The central block dates from the 18th century, with large scale additions carried out in the 19th century. The building is vacant and is in an advancing state of dereliction, with no sign of suitable use being found.
The Catholic Church has a long tradition of providing education in Ireland. As its influence declines in an increasingly secular society, the issue of what to do with buildings which up to now have provided a religious education needs to be addressed.
In order to ensure the survival of our historic built fabric, maintaining continued occupation is essential. Temporary uses or occupations should be secured until long term use is resolved.
The announcement of a new tax relief for refurbishment of older buildings in Limerick, Waterford and other urban centres is welcome.
An Taisce has carried out a detailed evaluation highlighting numerous empty buildings of architectural importance in Limerick and Dublin on top of general high levels of property vacancy.
An Taisce is seeking involvement of members and others interested in the process to help build up a photographic database of Buildings at Risk where they live.
A sample of entries for Dublin, Limerick and Waterford can be found on the ‘Albums’ section of An Taisce’s Facebook page.
You’re invited to make this a participatory database by providing photographs and other information of abandoned, derelict or otherwise endangered buildings in Ireland to be added to the list. Any photos and/or information can be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org
- Today the National Trust and the International National Trusts Organisation are hosting a world wide ‘blogathon’ for World Heritage Day. For more information on World Heritage Day 2013, please go to website: www.icomos.org