08 Aug 2022

Historic Donegal building listed as one of the most at risk in the country

An Taisce has warned the Bishop’s Palace in Raphoe is at risk of collapse

Historic Donegal building listed as one of the most at risk in the country

The Bishop’s Palace in Raphoe was built in 1636 and destroyed by fire in 1838

The Bishop’s Palace in Raphoe has been listed as one of the top ten at-risk buildings in the country.

Built in 1636, environmental charity An Taisce says it is one of ten buildings in the country which could be lost to future generations unless direct action is now taken to preserve them.

An Taisce has warned that the former Church of Ireland bishop’s residence is suffering from structural problems that could lead to a full or partial collapse. A roofless shell none of the original fabric remains other than the external walls. 

Also known as Raphoe Castle, the fortified mansion was built by Bishop John Leslie but, soon after its completion, came under attack during the 1641 Rebellion. It was a target again in 1653, this time by Cromwell’s forces. In 1689, it was damaged in a raid by supporters of King James II, and it also withstood an attack by the United Irishmen in 1798. It was deliberately set ablaze in 1838.

An Taisce says the building remains an imposing and impressive ruin and stands as one of the most striking and important castles in Donegal.

Ian Lumley, head of advocacy at A Taisce said: “There is so much opportunity in restoration and conservation. In these pandemic times, we have seen the value of community and a growing appreciation for spending time and getting to know our local areas. Together with a homeless crisis that has not gone away, offer a compelling argument to save and repurpose many of the buildings listed below and many more for either community or residential use. Restoring and repurposing heritage buildings is also far more sustainable than allowing them to deteriorate, bulldozing them, and constructing new developments from scratch”.

The other buildings on the last area: Aldborough House, Dublin; Canal Hotel, Robertstown, Kildare; Castle MacGarret, Claremorris, Mayo; Castle Saunderson, Cavan; Charter School, Monasterevin, Kildare; Debtor's Prison, Green Street, Dublin; Donaghy's Mill, Drogheda, Louth; Knocklofty House, outside Clonmel, Tipperary and the House by the Churchyard, Chapelizod, Dublin.

READ MORE: Three Donegal winners in Green Flag Awards

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