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No interest in €1 mansion in Ballinasloe

There have no expressions of interest in developing a 17th century house and estate in Ballinasloe – which can be acquired for the princely sum of €1.

Even the token price won’t tempt Galway County Council to acquire the historic Garbally House and estate either – mainly because of the investment that would be required to develop the property.

Director of Services Liam Hanrahan told a meeting of Ballinasloe Municipal Council that there have been no expressions in interest from any outside party in developing the property.

The house, adjacent to Garbally College, is owned by the Catholic Church which is willing to offer the property to Galway County Council for the nominal sum.

Mr Hanrahan informed the meeting that if someone is interested in acquiring the property and developing it, the Council would willingly facilitate this process.

“It is not in our ownership and nor are we willing to take possession but the door is always open for anyone to come in and renovate the property for whatever purpose,” he said.

“But so far, nobody has come next nor near us,” he added.

It is estimated that it would cost €4 million to renovate the property and that is way beyond the Council’s financial resources.

However, Cllr Evelyn Parsons (Ind) said that Garbally House was probably entitled to funding given the age of the building so that it could be given a new lease of life.

She mentioned that the house would have tourism or educational potential and that the grounds could be used as a local amenity for children or the elderly.

Cllr Parsons said that, given the fact that Galway County Council are not interested in the property, every other possibility should be explored.

The Ballinasloe are councillor expressed some surprise that Fáilte Ireland were not interested in acquiring and developing it as a tourist attraction.

There were ambitions that it would be transformed into a visitor centre or tourist attraction into the future given its significant history.

But Cllr Evelyn Parsons (Ind) wants this matter progressed as she said that it was a building with huge potential.

It is known that Garbally House was built by Richard Le Poer Trench, second Earl of Clancarty around 1820.

This was thanks to his diplomatic skills at the Congress of Vienna a few years earlier where he had also been created Marquess of Heusden in the peerage of The Netherlands.

Lord Clancarty’s architect for Garbally was the London-based Thomas Cundy senior and this was his only significant Irish commission.

The Le Poer Trenches remained there until 1922 when the estate was sold to the Roman Catholic Diocese of Clonfert for the old £6,750 when it went on to become a boy’s secondary school.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune:

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