PRELIMINARY work has started on long-awaited renovations to historic Killarney House which is intended, long-term, to become a visitor centre for the National Park.
The house has been unused since ex-owner Mary McShain died in 1998.
Local tourism interests and politicians have complained about the building falling into dereliction and it grounds becoming a venue for anti-social activity and drinking parties.
However, Environment Minister John Gormley yesterday confirmed initial steps had already been taken to secure the building, including damp proofing, drainage works and the installation of a security system.
More substantial remedial works would shortly be carried out, with assistance from the OPW and its specialist conservation architects, he said.
Mr Gormley said such works would aim to secure the fabric of the building and would be commenced later this autumn.
Works will focus on repairs to the roof, windows, plasterwork and further drainage and on the external presentation of the building.
The minister confirmed that the National Parks and Wildlife Service (NPWS) has put in place the necessary funding to cover the cost of the works.
Also, the NPWS is hoping to progress a plan to enhance the 19th century pleasure gardens immediately to the west of the house.
Two years ago, Sister Pauline McShain, the daughter of the former owners of Killarney House, said she was disillusioned by the Government’s neglect of the building.
The McShain family donated the house to the State on the understanding that it would be developed into a cultural and tourist attraction.
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