Our history reduced to rubble

THE wanton self-destruction of our country’s architectural heritage is sickening.

There seems to be no single body responsible for preserving the ever decreasing natural and built history in Ireland as a whole.

Instead we a have a mish-mash of government departments and bodies which, like all government departments, will claim another is responsible when any issue arises.

There is no accountability. It seems the only people who care are voluntary organisations like An Taisce and the Irish Georgian Society.

From a local perspective, Beaver Lodge in Carrigaline, which dated from the 1820s and formed part of the original Carrigaline flour mills complex, was recently demolished without trace within a few hours.

This most beautiful house was in perfect condition and was until recently an exclusive guesthouse. Not a flagstone or shrub remains.

Monkstown Castle, built in 1636, is now on its last legs and will most likely soon collapse into a pile of rubble. This will provide an easy opportunity to replace it with a lucrative block of apartments while an important slice of history goes forgotten. Lands at Fota and the Old Head of Kinsale, for years sources of inspiration and freedom to the public, will be, or are, now reserved as playgrounds for the rich.

Fifty years ago it was a common belief that by demolishing our old buildings we could leave the past behind.

But if we destroy everything from the past, how can we understand the future? We are all familiar with the terrible social injustices of the past when the privileged few occupied luxurious demesnes and bishops lived in warm palaces while children ran barefoot and hungry in the streets.

But if these buildings are destroyed, we will too easily forget our culture and part of what makes us a nation.

Castles, period houses, national parks and monuments, as well as large demesnes, must be preserved for the enjoyment of every child of the state so that they may experience and understand the history and heritage of their country.

They must not be destroyed by the nouveau riche of the Celtic Tiger.

Roger Ellis

59 Chandlers Walk

Rushbrooke

Cobh

Co Cork

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