Tuesday 23 January 2018

Skibbereen's Famine Soup Kitchen to be restored

I'm pleased to hear that Skibbereen’s Old Steam Mill building is (finally) to be restored.

It's been a bit of an eyesore for many years, with its numerous For Sale and To Let signs, and a host of other hoardings and posters, all growing tattier while the building has grown increasingly derelict in its prominent position on the banks of the River Ilen, next door to the town's excellent Heritage Centre.

Built in the 1780s as a mill, the large, stone building went on to house one of the first large-scale Famine Soup Kitchens in Ireland. It opened as such on 7 November 1846 and at its height of operation, some 8,600 starving people were fed daily from its kitchen.

Despite years of trying to find an investor willing to turn the much-neglected four-storey property into retail units, workshops or even residential apartments, no buyer came forward. Now, Cork County Council has bought the historic building and it will be protected and restored.

With thanks to Skibbereen Heritage Centre.