BALLINWILLIN HERITAGE WALL FUNDING SHORTAGE
Restoration of a heritage wall in Ballinwillin, Mitchelstown has begun but much to the disappointment of all concerned, it cannot be completed because of a lack of funding. Bill Power, chairman, Mitchelstown Heritage Society said the trainees who restored a stretch of the wall in recent weeks cannot complete the job.
“It’s a sign of the times and of the fact that so little funding is available to carry out works of this nature.”
Bill went on to say that the development of the people’s park in Ballinwillin is a shining example of the efforts of AROMA, which has done tremendous work in recent years in landscaping the park, erecting a children’s playground and providing other amenities in the area.
“They deserve great praise for what they have done in turning a wasteland into a fine park. This is how things get done and that is how projects in towns and villages are going to have to be done in the future,” he stressed.
“It’s just unfortunate that local organisations do not, at the moment, have enough money to pay for either the materials or the workers required to complete the wall.”
Bob Dineen, heritage officer with Mitchelstown Heritage Society, who was a trainee on the project, said that the response from residents in Ballinwillin was very positive and greatly appreciated. Bob, who lives nearby said the short stretch of wall that was rebuilt used 25 bags of cement.
“You’d never think that just to look at it,” he said.
“I’d love to see it finished and I know that Don Colbert and others are trying to find ways to have it finished, but nobody has the money at the moment to buy the materials.”
The Ballinwillin wall restoration was undertaken with the support of Ballyhoura Development who organised it as a one-week training course in stone building.
The five trainees who took part were Bob Dineen (Mitchelstown), Joe Prendergast (Kilbehenny), Jim Keane (Mitchelstown), Tom Blackburn (Galbally) and Michael Cleary (Knockainey). Their training was supervised by stonemason, John Kiely. Participants were required to sit a short examination at the end of the course.
During their time working on the wall, the participants were given a short talk by Bill Power on its history. Bill told them that the wall probably dates to the first half of the 1800s.
It may have been erected as part of the entrance lane to Ballinwillin House which was then owned by the Carroll family, ancestors of Carrolls, solicitors of Fermoy. Bill also pointed out that the Carroll family had been the owners of a private bank in Mitchelstown in the 1830s.
They were also involved in milling and other commercial activities. ‘ “n fact the road to Ballinwillin House was known until recent times as Carroll’s Road,” he said.
Although not of great historical importance, Bill pointed out that such walls were part of the heritage of the town. By restoring it, the trainees were providing an attractive frontage to Ballinwillin Park and making it safer for the public in general.
“That’s a win for everyone including residents, AROMA, Cork County Council and those of us interested in our town’s heritage,” he added.
The heritage society chairman said that he was personally pleased to have been able to negotiate permission from Cork County Council to do the work that, for quite some time, had been held up because of planning-related issues.
He acknowledged that the breakthrough finally came following discussions he had had with the council’s building conservation officer, Mona Hallinan who finally agreed to allow the work to proceed. Since then, AROMA had championed the wall’s restoration.
Don Colbert of Ballyhoura Development Ltd., said this week that he wanted to acknowledge the financial support for materials received from AROMA and Cork County Council.
“We also received help from Cork County Council who provided signage for the duration of the project.”
Don added that Mitchelstown Town Hall was made available to participants on the course and that this was also greatly appreciated.
“This was a training course of one week’s duration and the course is one of many community training courses currently being organised by Ballyhoura Development,” he said.
Thursday 4th November 5:17pm