Today, Newry, Mourne and Down District Council, through the Ring of Gullion Landscape Partnership Scheme, received £9,300 from the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) for an exciting project, “Exploring the Restoration and Re-instatement of the Home of the Bard of Armagh.”
The project, which is led by local community volunteers focuses on the life of Bishop Dr Patrick Donnelly of Dromore, the “Bard of Armagh”. The scheme will centre on the Bard’s home, a uniquely important 18th century dwelling house in Lislea. It plans to explore the potential to bring the house back to its former glory. This important jewel in the heritage of the Ring of Gullion AONB deserves to be recognised.
The building has sadly fallen into a severe state of neglect. This project will facilitate discussion and planning with the house’s owners on how best to move forward. Ultimately the house and its rich and intriguing local and ecclesiastical history will be shared with a wide audience at home and abroad. It is hoped that this project will bring Bishop Donnelly’s story back to life.
The family who own the house and the Bard of Armagh Homestead Committee share a desire to protect this unique dwelling and carry the story of this world-renowned character to future generations. The Bard of Armagh’s history is one of a man who had a profound impact on his own parish and also throughout Ireland during the late 17th and early 18th centuries. It is a tale that deserves widespread recognition.
Gillian Fitzpatrick, chair of Newry, Mourne and Down District Council praised this initiative, “Projects like this are of vital importance to our area. This project will fund the up-skilling of a local group helping them to realise a long held wish to restore this piece of history. A sense of place has always been important but never more so than in the internet age. This project will help to reconnect us with our own place.”
A spokesperson from The Bard of Armagh Homestead Committee said, “We are thrilled to have received the support of the Heritage Lottery Fund – it’s a dream come true, the light at the end of the tunnel. With the help of the Ring of Gullion Landscape Partnership team and this start-up grant, we see the project moving forward quickly . This project will be a really positive addition to area, it will add significantly to the upward curve in tourism and heritage.”
The Bard of Armagh Homestead Committee is actively seeking new members to drive this project forward. Log on to www.ringofgullion.org for more details on how to get in touch.