ARE MITCHELSTOWNS CASTLE GARDENS BEING IGNORED?
As a variety of events were hosted to celebrate Heritage Week in Mitchelstown last month, one man, however, feels that an important part of local heritage was overlooked by the Mitchelstown Heritage Society.
“I’m wondering why the castle gardens, where Mitchelstown Castle once stood, weren’t considered for due prominence during heritage week,” Timmy ‘Rancher’ White told The Avondhu.
The White family owns a 7 acre portion of the castle grounds where the gardens were situated since the 1980s, and Timmy claims that the preservation of the castle gardens is very close to the hearts of the White family.
“We, as a family, have always spent money trying to preserve the castle grounds. It has been ignored the whole time even though I believe it’s part of our heritage. We’re constantly trying to upgrade the signage at the gates to mention the gardens.”
“I was told that if they were back to the standard of Victorian times, then the gardens would be a recognized heritage site.”
Mitchelstown Castle, home to the Earl of Kingston, was the biggest neo-Gothic house in Ireland. The castle was first built in the 15th century and was extensively refurbished in the 1730s. On August 12, 1922, Mitchelstown Castle was burned on the orders of a local republican leader whose father and grandfather had been middlemen on the Kingston estate.
“A lot of significant people visited that castle back in those days including George Bernard Shaw and Elizabeth Bowen. She wrote that she was sitting in the gardens when her maid, for want of a better word, told her that Britain was at war. During Elizabeth Bowen week, which is held here in Mitchelstown, they did not mention the castle grounds,” Timmy White added.
BENDING OVER BACKWARDS
He believes that the castle gardens would not be overlooked by any other town’s heritage society.
“If this were another town their heritage society would be bending over backwards to offer support. Senator David Norris would be livid. He’s a great man for heritage and would love to preserve such an important site. I’ve done everything in my power to get the gardens recognized and I feel I’m being vicitmised here.
Tourists don’t come to Ireland to go swimming, they come for our heritage sites, like they want to kiss the Blarney stone or go to Muckross House. These places are very rare around Europe and here people are forsaking their own heritage. If it’s proven to not be part of our heritage then I have no crib.”
However, local historian and member of the Mitchelstown Heritage Society, Bill Power gave the following response.
“I don’t actually think this is an issue. We have assisted the White family with planning matters on the grounds in the past. With regards to Heritage Week, we do something different every year. This time we were offered a space in Tesco, which we used. Other years we’ve held historical walks in the area. Timmy White has the right to host an event himself and we would have facilitated him had he come to us for assistance. As for the signage, the county council supplies this at local heritage sites so he would have to get in contact with them.”
Thursday 8th September 7:11pm