Projects 2014-15

Projects 2014-15

Ardglass Bathing House

On 21 August the Follies Trust held a Celebration in Ardglass to mark the conservation of the bathing house. It was a lovely sunny day and there was an icecream van dispensing icecream cones to guests which included Gillian Fitzpatrick, Deputy Chairperson of Newry, Mourne and Down District Council, Councillors, Friends of the Follies Trust and members of the public. Funding for the project was obtained from the Landfill Communities Tax, administered by Ulster Wildlife, and the Ardglass Vikings.
At the conclusion of the speeches a Follies Trustee emerged from the bathing house in her swimming costume and went for a dip in the sea!

Our celebration was then featured in the Down News local online paper. View the article complete with photos of the day here.

Also Chairman of the Follies Trust, Primrose Wilson, was interviewed about the project on the BBC Radio Uster program Your Place or Mine. The interview can be heard below starting at 10 minutes 50 seconds:

Beresford Obelisk conservation completed and associated book published

Thanks to the help of many donors, grant aid from the Northern Ireland Environment Agency and several charitable trusts, the Follies Trust was able to complete the conservation of the Beresford Obelisk at Ballyquin, near Limavady in the first few months of 2015. The obelisk was erected in 1840 in memory of Henry Barré Beresford, who was land agent for his relative the Marquess of Waterford.  A reception was held at the Roe Valley Resort hotel on 19 May 2015 to mark the completion of the work and the launch of an associated publication funded by The Heritage Lottery Fund entitled The Beresford Obelisk, A legacy in stone in the Roe Valley. We were delighted to welcome Marcus de la Poer Beresford, Lord Decies, who formally launched the book. The event was attended by other members of the Beresford family including the Marquess of Waterford and Agnes Beresford-Ash, widow of the late John Randal Beresford-Ash (1938-2010) who was a direct descendant of Henry Barré Beresford. Amongst the many others attending were most of the authors of essays in the book, Chris McCollum, Raymond Blair, Daniel Calley, Professor James Stevens Curl, Primrose Wilson, the book’s editor Dr Evelyn Mullally and the farmer who owns the land on which the obelisk is situated, William Purcell.

The total cost of the project including the book amounted to over £80,000.

The book is available from the Follies Trust. Please see under ‘Publications

The Follies Trust conserves the Moorish Tower at Castlewellan Forest Park

During 2014 The Follies Trust completed the conservation of a structure overlooking the lake at Castlewellan Forest Park, Castlewellan, County Down with grant aid form the NGO Challenge Fund, at a cost of around £27,750. The Follies Trust has also published a useful illustrated leaflet about the structure for the benefit of visitors to the Park.

This remarkable and picturesque little building, used by the Annesley family as a tea house, was erected by Hugh Annesley, fifth Earl Annesley in 1884. He was a keen amateur photographer and photographed the building work, as shown in the picture.

The tower had become completely overgrown and obscured by surrounding trees but is now clearly visible.

Building the Moorish Tower, Castlewellan c 1884

Before and After Conservation

The Tower on Mullagh Hill, Co Offaly

The tower at Mullagh Hill was built in 1830 by the Reverend Franc Sadleir for his son Thomas. It was built on an elevated site close to Killurin within the grounds of Mullagh House. The tower provides commanding views of the neighbouring countryside, soft, undulating verdant fields which contrast with the rich, russet bogs to the south, a view that is relatively unchanged since Franc Sadleir and his family would have looked out over their land.

Franc Sadleir was born on 3 May 1775, the second son of a barrister, Thomas Sadleir of Castletown, Co. Tipperary. Franc was an academic, dedicated to Trinity College Dublin. He was admitted as a young boy of fifteen and spent all his working life there. He died as Provost of Trinity, aged seventy-seven.

In 2014 conservation work began on the folly tower with funding from the Follies Trust and the Department of Arts Heritage & an Gaeltacht’s Built Heritage Job leverage scheme (BHJLS). Repairs were carried out to the door and window openings, decayed lintels were repaired or replaced whilst historic bricks were used when replacements were required. Vegetation at high level was removed and soft capping of walls undertaken where necessary with lime mortar. Empty joints were filled with mortar and a new gate inserted at the doorway. Finally two coats of limewash were applied to the outer surfaces. The effect is amazing as the folly tower looks wonderful!

The Follies Trust would like to acknowledge that this was a combined effort by many people and the successful outcome is because everyone played their roles in a cheerful and positive way. The owner, Alo Dillon, was patient and accommodating; the Conservation Officer, Rachel McKenna and the Heritage Officer, Amanda Pedlow, worked tirelessly to ensure the project went ahead and credit is due to Killurin Construction for carrying out the work to the careful conservation standards specified in Margaret Quinlans’s report.

Finally our thanks to Mary Hanna for her advice and guidance and the Department’s BHJLS for making the funding available.

The Follies Trust is pleased to learn that the project has raised lots of local interest and thanks to the Tullamore Tribune for featuring the story.

(NIAH ref. 14924004)

Stephenson mausoleum, Kilbride, County Antrim

The Follies Trust is delighted that Newtownabbey Borough Council has restored this fine mausoleum. It resembles a mini Taj Mahal and is built of Tardree Rhyolite which resembles granite. Thirteen members of the Stephenson family are buried here in this structure erected in 1837 at a cost of £300. One family member was a Superintending Surgeon based in Madras which is probably why this mausoleum has an exotic Indian flavour.

In 2012 several pinnacles were missing and the stonework and cast-iron door to the mausoleum were in need of repair.

The Follies Trust encouraged the Local Authority to undertake the work and provided advice and guidance prior to commencement of the project.

Tullylish watch houses

Work is now complete to the Watch Houses at Tullylish and they look great!

The Follies Trust has been working with Banbridge Council on this project to ensure future generations can enjoy an aspect of our industrial heritage. The manufacture of linen was once Ireland’s greatest industry and the Bann Valley was one of its main hubs. When linen was spread out on the greens to bleach it required protection from theft and stray animals. In Tullylish there were once 7 watch houses in the fields for the watchmen who guarded the linen. Now there are only two left and with funding from NI Environment Agency and ENTRUST the Follies Trust preserved them. Additional information can be found here and on our Events page.

The watch houses before…

…and after…

On 25 March a lot of people assembled in the Pot Belly, Gilford, Co Down to celebrate the completion of the conservation of the Tullylish watch houses. photo-3 copyThe Chairman of Banbridge District Council, Councillor Olive Mercer, and Councillors attended as well as local historians, the son of a Tullylish bleach green watchman and Friends of the Follies Trust.

Primrose Wilson, Chairman of the Follies Trust, thanked the funders – Ulster Wildlife, NI Environment Agency, Banbridge Council and the landowner for all their help with the project. Joe Furphy, Vice Chairman of Ulster Wildlife said they were very pleased to associated with this project which featured an important part of our Industrial Heritage. He spoke eloquently about the social impacts of the linen industry in the Bann valley.DSC_0009a

Councillor Olive Mercer officially launched the project and spoke of the importance of the linen heritage to Banbridge Council. The event was a celebration of the completion of the scheme and was much enjoyed by all present.