Thursday 24 September 2020

KDHS takes over new heritage and genealogy centre

Some wonderful news from Kilrush, County Clare. A project to restore and convert the local landmark of Turret Lodge into a community-run Heritage and Genealogy Centre has been completed. 

The keys to the protected structure were handed over on Tuesday to the Kilrush and District Historical Society (KDHS), whose members will operate the new genealogy and exhibition space. 

The detached stone gate house, which dates to 1845 and is adjoined to a castellated archway and narrow turret marking the entrance into the Vandeleur Estate demesne, has been fully restored thanks to €190,000 funding from the Historic Towns Initiative 2019, a partnership between the Heritage Council and the Department of Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht, and a further €50,000 grant from Clare County Council (CCC). 

At the official opening and handover on Tuesday, Pat Dowling, Chief Executive of Clare County Council, said: “This project provides the local community with a truly unique space while also delivering on the conservation of an important building. The renovated Turret Lodge will increase the cultural, heritage and tourism offering of Kilrush Town. I would like to acknowledge the work and involvement of all of the groups that have brought this project to fruition.” 

It will be a while before the doors are fully open, however. The KDHS facebook page explains that the Lodge's windows will remain boarded up until security equipment is installed, but when Covid-19 restrictions allow it, the Society will organise a launch celebration and the public will be given tours of the historical property. 

In the meantime, you can watch a you-tube recording of a talk about the restoration project here.

Pictured at the official key handover at the Turret Lodge, Kilrush on Tuesday 22 September, were (l-r): Carmel Greene, CCC; Leonard Cleary, CCC; Mayor of Clare, Cllr Mary Howard; Pat Dowling, CCC; and Lisa O’Sullivan, Chairperson of Kilrush and District Historical Society. Photo courtesy Clare County Council.