Russborough House on list of endangered heritage sites

Wed, Oct 7, 2009, 01:00

RUSSBOROUGH HOUSE, Co Wicklow, has been included on a list of 93 endangered cultural and heritage sites around the world.

The 18th-century demesne in Blessington was placed on the World Monument Fund’s 2010 watch list, which includes the Peruvian city of Machu Pichu and Gaudi’s Sagrada Familia church in Barcelona.

The designed and natural landscape of Russborough is the focus of the fund’s concern rather than the Palladian mansion itself. Most of the original outbuildings, the 18th-century water features, the bridge to Lady’s Island and the lime kiln are in “urgent need of repair”, the fund said.

It also expressed concern at the loss of “historic natural features” which include broad-leaved woodland and parkland trees. This “very serious problem” must be met by “a vast and well-researched replanting program”.

The demesne has “one of the most intact and important designed landscapes ever created in Ireland,” the WMF said.

The house was designed by Richard Cassells and was donated to the State in 1978 by owners Sir Alfred and Lady Beit. The house is open to the public and is managed by the Alfred Beit Foundation.