His­toric wing rises from the ashes

Bray People - - NEWS -

THINGS are slowly but surely re­turn­ing to nor­mal at Russ­bor­ough House af­ter a fire ripped through the west wing in Fe­bru­ary of last year.

Ex­ten­sive dam­age was caused to the Pal­la­dian style man­sion and for the past 13 months ex­ten­sive restora­tion works have been tak­ing place.

The 15 large urns which used to adorn the house were re­in­stated in all their for­mer glory on Wed­nes­day hav­ing been worked upon by a stone ma­son to fix any dam­age caused by the blaze.

In­deed, progress is go­ing so well, Eric Blatch­ford, Chief Ex­ec­u­tive of the Al­fred Beit Foun­da­tion, feels the scaf­fold­ing will be re­moved in time for the start of the tourist sea­son be­gin­ning in April.

‘80 per cent of the West Wing’s roof was dam­aged by the fire and that has now been com­pletely re­stored. We ac­tu­ally man­aged to source slates from an old mid18th cen­tury church. The 15 urns are all back in place and are look­ing magnificent.

The West Wing restora­tions should all be com­plete by April.

‘We have had scaf­fold­ing up for 13 months now so we will all be de­lighted to see that re­moved as well,’ says Mr. Blatch­ford.

The West Wing will also be con­verted to cre­ate self cater­ing ac­com­mo­da­tion for vis­i­tors un­der the stew­ard­ship of the Ir­ish Land­mark Trust.

The for­mer home of Sir Al­fred and Lady Beit has been de­scribed as ‘ the most beau­ti­ful house in Ire­land’ by his­to­rian Mark BenceJones.

The house and its grounds are open to mem­bers of the pub­lic and de­tails are avail­able at the web­site www.russ­bor­ough.ie.

Stone ma­son James Snell, Con­ser­va­tion & Restora­tion Ire­land, hand carves and re­pairs the roof top urns.

A crane lifts one of the huge urns into place.

Urns on the West Wing.

Some of the urns in al­ready place.

One of the spe­cially-de­signed crates ready to be lifted into place.

The or­nate ceil­ings are be­ing grad­u­ally re­paired.

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