A team of volunteers – “practical patriots” – began restoring Kilmainham Gaol in 1960. It was a massive undertaking; the roof was gone and there were trees growing up through the floors.
Pearse McLoughlin, the head of the restoration committee, told RTE’s Cathal O’Shannon in 1965 that it might cost as much as half a million pounds – estimated at about €10m in today’s money. That would be for materials alone, mind.
None of the volunteers wanted to be paid, and what’s more they didn’t want anyone on the site who wanted paying. It was their way of honouring “Ireland’s glorious dead”, McLoughlin said.
Our glorious dead continue to be honoured by proxy at Lios Ciúin, a huge detached house in south Co Meath, as some of the cut stone used in its construction is said to have been reclaimed from Kilmainham Gaol.
The place was built in 2006 but, unlike the prison restoration, there was no expense spared in this case.
Lios Ciúin (or ‘Silent Fort’) stands at 5,046 sq ft, big enough to accommodate several dozen revolutionaries at least.
Luckily enough it has a B2 energy rating so it won’t cost a bomb to heat.
That includes five bedrooms, all en suite. The master bedroom is on the ground floor along with two reception rooms on either side of the hallway, both with fireplaces, and an open-plan kitchen and lounge with French doors. The first floor also has a study.
Lios Ciúin is in the townland of Pagestown, near the village of Kilcloon and seven kilometres from Maynooth.
It has two acres of landscaped grounds and gardens to call its own, on which you’ll find a cut-stone garage measuring 1,195 sq ft.
There are also massive lawns and a patio with tiles reclaimed from a pub in Leitrim.
Lios Ciúin is for sale for €1.3m with Sherry FitzGerald Brady O’Flaherty (01) 651 0000.
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