Katharine Tynan site should be developed as a heritage centre


A Councillor has suggested that the site of the former home of Katharine Tynan in Tallaght should be developed as a heritage centre, as the Protected Structure is falling into a worsening state of disrepair.

Whitehall House, which is known locally as Katharine Tynan House, is located in Kingswood and saw numerous literary greats, including William Butler Yeats and AE Russell, pass through its doors in the late 1800s.

Katharine Tynan final

The Katherine Tynan house in Kingswood.

The site was purchased by the Irish Rugby Football Union (IRFU) in 1994, who then sought planning permission for the demolition of the derelict house, but permission was refused after objections were lodged by the Tynan Society and the Kingswood Residents’ Association.

Property investment company Hibernia REIT purchased the site from the IRFU last November for a reported €27 million for the 92.5 acres of land, which contains Whitehall House.

Fianna Fáil councillor for Tallaght Central, Charlie O’Connor, told The Echo: “I’ve often been quoted as saying Tallaght didn’t fall out of the sky 50 years ago, and that old Tallaght has been largely forgotten.

“This particular site has huge historical significance. It’s in serious disrepair and it’s sad to see this site in the poor state that it’s in.

“There is community sensitivity about this particular site.”

Cllr O’Connor tabled a motion about the site, which was seconded by Independent councillor for Tallaght Central, Mick Duff, at Monday’s monthly meeting of the Tallaght Area Committee.

In his motion, Cllr O’Connor asked the council’s chief executive “to take actions to ensure the preservation and protection of the Katharine Tynan Site in Kingswood Heights, and will he examine means by which funding could be found to develop this historic site as a heritage centre?”

Cllr O’Connor told The Echo that he hopes in the long-term that the site will be developed into a heritage centre.

In response to Cllr O’Connor’s motion, South Dublin County Council stated: “On foot of previous representations from elected members, the council’s Architectural Conservation Officer has recommended that the Planning Enforcement Section issue a Warning Letter to owner/s of the site.

“Whitehall House (Former Katharine Tynan’s House) is referred to in the Council’s Record of Protected Structures - Schedule 2 of the South Dublin County Development Plan 2010-2016 under RPS No. 197.

“The Warning Letter outlines the duty of care and the legislation pertaining to the protection of protected structures under Part IV of the Planning & Development Act, 2000 (as amended). Details of the security measures on site have been requested.

“The site is in private ownership and therefore a request has also been made for authorised access to the site in order that the council’s Architectural Conservation Officer can visit the site with the owner/land agent to ascertain the current condition of the structure.

“The Planning Enforcement Section will issue the Warning Letter once ownership details have been confirmed.”

Cllr O’Connor added: “Action should be taken and progress should be made, before the house deteriorates further and vanishes.”

A spokesperson for Hibernia REIT told The Echo: “Whitehall House is a protected structure located within the lands recently purchased by Hibernia REIT from the IRFU. It is currently secured to prevent further deterioration or unauthorised access.

“We recognise the important association of the house with Katharine Tynan and we are supportive of undertaking a conservation programme to repair and restore the fabric of the house.

“Any work will require planning permission, and to start this process we plan to contact the Council’s heritage officer to discuss an approach to the house’s adaptation and what possible uses could be found for it.”

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