In 2003, Edward Walsh and Constance Cassidy purchased Lissadell House, Co. Sligo as private property. Their vision was to transform the estate into a flagship for tourism in Sligo and the North West, and to provide a secure environment for their seven children. With that in mind, they set out restoring the house and gardens to their former glory. The end goal was to make Lissadell self-sustaining. However, on 1st December 2008 Sligo County Council, without any notice, passed a resolution that the Council “amend the current County Development Plan to include in it a provision for the preservation of the public rights of way along routes through the Lissadell Estate” in accordance with section 14 of the Planning and Development Act 2000. The council chose the four main avenues in Lissadell, including the avenue running right in front of the doors of the house itself.
Legal action soon followed, and the trial began in the High Court in October 2009, and continued in January, February, March, April, May and June 2010. Judgment was delivered on 20th December, 2010 declaring the four main avenues public rights of way in daylight hours. On Feb 3rd, 2011 costs were awarded in the case. Because of the judgment, the Walsh-Cassidy’s insist that Lissadell is incapable of operating as a family home or tourist facility for reasons of security, insurance and maintenance.
Recorded over a period of 18 months, this documentary tells the story behind the Lissadell dream – a dream, the family says, that is now dead.
Produced by Ann Marie Power
First broadcast Saturday 12th February 2011.