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Moorehall master plan under wraps

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AUTUMN TARGET  Catherine McConnell, Director of Services.

Michael Duffy

The Masterplan which will reveal Mayo County Council’s detailed plans for the Moorehall estate, which it purchased last month, is likely not to be revealed to the public until autumn of this year.
This was revealed last week at a meeting of the council’s Tourism and Food Strategic Policy Committee at Cedar House in Castlebar.
Director of Services, Catherine McConnell, said the project Masterplan would have to go to tender and realistically it would probably be the autumn before the document could be brought before a meeting of the SPC, which is scheduled to meet in September and November of 2018.
Ms McConnell made the comment after Senior Engineer, Padraic Philbin, gave a presentation to the meeting about  how the Council ended up acquiring the famous Moorehall House and estate.  
Mr Philbin said the location of the estate was very strategic, located centrally between the tourist centres of Cong and Westport, and close to both towns of Ballinrobe and Castlebar.
He said the reaction of the Council’s well publicised plans for the near 80 acres of forestry and the house itself had been tremendous and the public in general was delighted that the Council was in a long-term position to protect the site.
He said the Masterplan would see the Council now engage with all the major stakeholders including the National Parks and Wildlife Service and the local Carnacon community. He added that it may be possible to access Leader funding so that work could begin on the Walled Garden of the estate.
The question of redeveloping the house itself would come further down the track, as a lot more investment would be needed, but he added that a temporary roofing structure would lead to the preservation and stabilisation of the building.
The elected councillors at the meeting Cllr Michael Loftus and Paul McNamara complimented Mr Philbin on his presentation and the Chairman of the SPC, Cllr John O’Hara, said the whole project has huge potential and would add significantly to the tourism product available in the county.
Mayo County Council purchased the 78 acre estate from Coillte for just €400,000 last month.
Of national historic significance, Moorehall was the ancestral home of John Moore, first President of the Republic of Connacht, and of the renowned Moore literary writers. The history of the family and of Moorehall is closely intertwined with significant events in the history of the emerging nation state, including the 1798 French invasion, the Irish literary renaissance of the late 19th and early 20th centuries and the Civil War.
The Council now proposes to develop the estate as a nationally important nature reserve and tourism attraction.

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