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Last Updated: Friday, 25 July, 2003, 14:35 GMT 15:35 UK
Joint bid to save 'stately home'
Lissadell House, Sligo
The house is on the market for over 2m
The Irish Government is considering a joint bid with private interests to buy the childhood home of the Republican heroine Countess Markievicz.

Lissadell House in County Sligo is steeped in Irish history, with the poet WB Yeats a frequent past visitor.

County Sligo in the Irish Republic has become known as Yeats Country, as much of the poet's work was influenced by the surrounding landscape.

The 19th-century mansion, which sits on 400 acres of land, is set in one of the most beautiful parts of Ireland.

The property has been owned by the Gore-Booth family since it was built in 1830.

However, the cost of its' upkeep has played a part in the painful decision to sell it.

Countess Markievicz
Countess Markievicz was the first woman to be elected to the British Parliament

"There are so many financial aspects to the ownership and management of a place like this that it is hard to pin it down," said Sir Josslyn Gore-Booth, the current owner.

"I always say that each euro of revenue, I could spend it without any trouble on 10 different things at the same time."

The house was the childhood home of Countess Markievicz, who was the first woman to be elected to the British Parliament, although she never took her seat.

Yeats and Markievicz were prominent figures in the revival of Gaelic literature and arts at the turn of the last century.

Lissadell is open to the public and the Yeats Society in Sligo wants to keep it that way even if it is sold.

Maura McTighe of the Yeats Society said the house needed to be preserved and protected.

"It would be a disaster, not just for Sligo but for Ireland, to see that place closed and bought by a private owner," she said.

The pressure is now on to find someone to step in and buy the house and keep it for the public.

The asking price is over 2m but the cost of refurbishment would be a great deal more than that.

The Irish Government has been looking at the possibility of buying it but it seems it may not be able to afford to go it alone and is thinking about a private partnership to make the project happen.

Fears for Yeats' old haunt
25 May 03  |  Northern Ireland


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