Anger over demolition of historic Bessborough stone folly

Anger over demolition of historic Bessborough stone folly
Stonework being removed from the detached three-bay-two story folly whick was built in 1880 at Bessborough in Blackrock, Cork. Behind the hous is a graveyard in use since the 20’s. Picture Dan Linehan

Cork City Council said they are investigating the partial demolition of a historic 19th century stone folly on the grounds of the former Bessborough Mother and Baby Home in Mahon.

The two-storey stone folly was built around 1880 and was described as "an important surviving landscape feature associated with the gardens of Bessborough House."

However, in recent days, demolition work has taken place on the building reducing it to its lower floor.

BEFORE : The Castle Folly in Bessborough, Blackrock, Cork which has been demolished
BEFORE : The Castle Folly in Bessborough, Blackrock, Cork which has been demolished

The Sisters of the Sacred Heart of Jesus and Mary have released a statement today, explaining their decision to demolish half of the folly.

“In recent weeks advice was received that the building’s structurally poor condition posed a grave danger to the public."

"We were left with no option but to have major structural work carried out on the Bessborough Folly. This ruin is regularly used by young people - and as there were serious safety issues directly related to the extremely poor condition of the building - we had to have this work done to ensure public safety.

“Before proceeding, we sought professional advice and we established the building is not on the Record of Monuments and Places (RMP) as maintained under the statute by the Archaeological Survey of Ireland and the Commissioners of Public Works. We also advised the ‘Commission of Investigation into Mother and Baby Homes’ of our intention to carry out this necessary work.

“The entire lower floor of the building is being retained and preserved," the statement added.

However, City Councillor Kieran McCarthy criticised the decision to partially demolish the structure saying permission was not granted by Cork City Council for the work.

“No permission was granted by the council to interfere with the monument or the folly, so now an enforcement file has been opened and the enforcement section of the planning division of Cork City Council will write to them and ask them for an explanation and are asking for restoration of the building.” 

He also said the folly should be rebuilt "block by block".

More in this section

Sponsored Content