Lissan House restoration starts

THE restoration of the much loved Lissan Country house got underway last week. Plans for restoring the beautiful country house have been ongoing for many years, but the plans finally got under way after funding was secured.

The famous stately house owned by the late Hazel Radclyffe-Dolling, made it to the final of the BBC’s Restoration programme in 2003 only to be narrowly beaten to the multi-milion pound prize by Victoria Baths in Manchester. After applying to several different funding bodies for assistance to help realise their dream of restoring the house, the Friends of Lissan Trust sucessfully secured contributions from a number of different sources including the Northern Ireland Tourist board ;the South West Action for Regional Development and an award grant from the Department of Agriculture’s Rural Development Programme.

Mid-Ulster MLA Billy Armstrong has welcomed the news that the Friends of Lissan House are to commence work on restoring the listed building.

He said: “It is great news that this fantastic building that is steeped in history is to be the subject of a much needed restoration project. The Friends of Lissan House have been working tirelessly for almost ten years to secure funding to commence their ambitious work and have been duly rewarded. Work to restore the main building and grounds to their former state is now underway with the overall project costs for the current phase amounting to £1.17 million. At a time whenever funding can be difficult to secure, I would like to pay tribute to the hard work that the Friends of Lissan Trust have put into their funding applications and I have now doubt they will now restore Lissan House to its former glory and once more, make it a focal tourist point at the heart of Mid-Ulster.”

It is anticipated that construction work will continue into Summer 2011 with several areas of the famous country house on the agenda for restoration including re-roofing of the house, replacement of all windows to the Georgian style, replastering and the installation of catering facilities.As part of the restoration plans the Friends of Lissan Trust also anticipate that other activities can take place at the House including: Lectures and Illustrated talks on the Plantation of Ulster; Guided tours of the house (focusing on different aspects of the heritage); Plays; Choral evenings and also Small weddings.

Now that the restoration work has commenced the company appointed to design the interpretative material for the inside of the house are interested in speaking to anyone who has memories or stories relating to life at Lissan House, which could be used in exhibition material. If you have anything that would be of use to the Trust please contact Cookstown Enterprise Centre on 028 867 63660.