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McDonnell calls for Moorehall to be roofed


STATELY DECLINE The once-grand Moorehall building. Pic: Ciara Moynihan

Councillor says a roof would protect the structure and the precious wildlife within

Oisín McGovern

MOOREHALL county councillor Al McDonnell has called for a roof to be put on the historic Moorehall house.
Cllr McDonnell says putting a roof on the 18th-century residence would preserve the habitat of the protected Lesser Horseshoe bat, which currently roosts in the basement of the house. The house, which was home to several generations of the Moore family, was burned by anti-Treaty forces in 1923.
The house and the surrounding woodland are currently owned by Mayo County Council, which purchased the estate from Coillte in 2018.
Cllr McDonnell was speaking to The Mayo News as part of our coverage of the newly announced EU LIFE programme, which will see €5 million directed to improving the water quality in Lough Carra and preserving biodiversity in the local area.
During an interview in his office in Castlebar, Cllr McDonnell described climate change as ‘a serious threat to the this native and exclusively rare species’.
“Rainfall is increasing as well, and as a consequence there is water egress seeping down from the natural building into the basement,” the Fianna Fáil councillor said.
“[These type of bats] only exist around the Western seaboard, but there is a greater Lesser Horshoe Bat population there than there is anywhere else in Europe.
“It is crucially important that the species is saved. To ensure that this takes place, it may necessary that the house is roofed in the relatively short-term.”
‘Ticks all the boxes’
Last year, the pathways and walled gardens on the Moorehall estate were renovated as part of extensive outdoor works.
A masterplan for Moorehall and the surrounding area is currently being drafted and is due to be published later next year.  The house was once home to John Moore, who became the first president of Connacht during the 1798 rebellion. It was later taken over by George Henry Moore, an MP for Mayo who provided badly needed relief to his tenants during the Great Famine.  The distinguished novelist George Augustus Moore was also deeply associated with the area.
“Moorehall is a very historic, very beautiful place, whether you’re talking about political history, whether you’re talking about literary history, or the naked beauty of the place, it ticks all boxes,” said Cllr McDonnell.
“More and more people are becoming aware of that significance.”