Burncourt Community Council plan to restore the former shooting lodge into a resource for events, hill walkers and a retreat for artists and writers, including a cafe in the summer.
In recent times the lodge was a youth hostel.
From 1937 to 2012 the lodge was leased by An Oige and was run as a youth hostel. Now Burncourt Community Council through a sub-lease hope to restore it as a community project, planning to rejuvenate the former shooting lodge into a resource for events, hill walkers and a retreat for artists and writers, including a cafe in the summer.
The restoration of the building is a major undertaking for Burncourt Community Council and they plan to seek assistance from neighbouring communities to help preserve a building that’s a resource to the entire region.
Mountain Lodge was built as a shooting lodge for the first Viscount Lismore, Cornelius O’Callaghan, and is located on land that once formed part of Shanbally Castle estate.
Shanbally Castle was built in 1810 and like the lodge was designed by one of the most important British architects of the time, John Nash, who also designed Regent Street and Regent Park in London, the Brighton pavilion and alterations to Buckingham Palace.
Shanbally Castle was once the largest of Nash’s buildings in Ireland but was demolished in 1957.
The lodge is a protected strucutre and is also included in the National Inventory of Architectural Heritage where it is given architectural, artistic and social categories of special interest.
The fact that so much of the original building has survived contributes further to the significance of the lodge. The roof has been replaced but almost all other architectural and internal features are retained, including the neo-Gothic small pane timber sash windows.
The building was vandalised twice. Initially all the windows were broken and the glazing bars destroyed. The windows are now boarded up.
Later the lead was stripped from the roof and this created holes which allowed water ingress. Coillte Teo, the owners of the building have completed temporary repairs.
Now as part of the new plan, Burncourt Community Council are awaiting a sub-lease from An Oige which will allow them access to the structure to begin the restoration.
A spokesperson said - “We consider this building to be hugely important in terms of the architectural heritage of Tipperary as well as of the Munster region.
“It is essential that the roof is replaced and that the interior is secured from further water damage as well as from the overall effects of poor weather.”
The Council has secured €15,000 funding from the Structures at Risk Fund which will allow partial repair of the roof. This will be an-ongoing project and it is envisaged that it will take several years to complete and restore.