Clare County Council has officially opened the Turret Lodge, Kilrush.
Turret Lodge is a notable landmark in Kilrush Town controlling access between the town and the Vandeleur Estate demesne.
Given that Kilrush House, the home of the Vandeleur family, burned down in 1897, the surviving lodges, walled garden and stable block have added significance as surviving links to the town’s past heritage.
This project received funding under the Historic Towns Initiative 2019, which is a partnership between the Heritage Council and the Department of Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht, with Clare County Council providing match funding.
The delivery was based on a collaborative approach between Kilrush and District Historical Society, Clare County Council and the Heritage Council alongside the design team, architectural conservation professionals and contractor, Corcon Construction. The project will deliver historical, social and tourism benefits for the community.
Clare County Council expressed its gratitude to the adjoining landowners, Coillte and Gearóid and Mary Williams, for positively engaging with the project by facilitating the transfer of adjoining land.
Pat Dowling, Chief Executive of Clare County Council, said: “This project provides the local community with a truly unique space while also delivering on the conservation of an important building. The renovated Turret Lodge will increase the cultural, heritage and tourism offering of Kilrush Town. I would like to acknowledge the work and involvement of all of the groups that have brought this project to fruition.”
The Mayor of Clare, Cllr Mary Howard, said: “The refurbishment of the Turret Lodge is an exemplar of sustainable development, the concept originating from the community and supported by the local authority, with the reimagining of a pre-existing heritage resource resulting in numerous economic, heritage and tourism-related benefits, both locally and nationally.”
Liam Conneally, Director of Economic Development, Clare County Council, noted: “The restoration of the Turret Lodge and the provision of a community-operated Heritage and Genealogy Centre delivers on a number of objectives of the Clare County Heritage Plan 2017–2023 through the revitalisation and enhancement of a historic town centre and by supporting the strategic and integrated management of heritage locally. It has brought into active use a protected structure, resulting in a long-term heritage asset.”
Virginia Teehan, CEO of the Heritage Council, welcomed the official opening of the Turret Lodge, saying: “The Heritage Council is delighted to have worked with Clare County Council on this project. Working with partners to preserve our heritage is an important Heritage Council priority and is one of the key ways we go about our work. We are committed to projects such as this which demonstrate how heritage can regenerate our towns and villages. The central role of the community in this project is crucial as we navigate these unprecedented times. We thank the Department of Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht for its continued support of this programme.”