Mayo County Council today confirmed it has acquired Moorehall House and Estate from Coillte, writes Cillian Sherlock.
The site is the ancestral home of the first President of the Republic of Connaught John Moore and the renowned Moore literary writers.
The site is also associated with the 1798 French invasion, the Civil War and the Irish literary renaissance of the late 1800s and early 1900s.
The estate is believed to have been built between 1792 and 1795, according to the Council.
The Council intends to develop the historic site into "nationally important" nature reserve and tourist attraction "for the benefit of the people of Mayo and the nation".
The property acquired includes the house, courtyard and walled garden along with eighty acres of woodland overlooking Lough Carra.
The Council said the natural, built and cultural heritage of Moorehall will be protected "yet developed and managed in a sustainable manner for current and future generations".
"Moorehall is a place of exceptional history, going back many generations, the remnants which are still visible on its historic landscape," said Mayo County Council Cathaoirleach Richard Finn.
"The acquisition of Moorehall by the Council will ensure that the heritage of Moorehall is preserved not just for this generation but for future generations,” he added.
Minister for Rural and Community Development Michael Ring said the benefits of the project will "seep into rural villages and towns".
"This project will complement existing tourism attractions in the area including Ballintubber Abbey, Lough Carra and historic Ballinrobe," Minister Ring, from Westport, added.
The project will be undertaken in connection with the National Parks and Wildlife Service who will provide expertise on the management of natural habits and, in particular, the conservation of the protected bat species on the site.
A master plan will be developed in consultation with stakeholders and the local community but will include further conservation measures, the restoration of the historic walled garden and the development of a recreational park.