Cork East TD Kevin O’Keeffe feels that a golden opportunity has arisen for the Government to step in and purchase Castlehyde House, Fermoy, Co Cork.
Deputy O’Keeffe added, “Castlehyde House is the former residence of the first President of Ireland, Douglas Hyde and in the current ownership of the renowned Michael Flatley. Both of these people have played an important role in the arts and cultural revival at appropriate times of this nation.
“Situated on the bank of the River Blackwater, it is currently for sale at a knockdown price of €12 million. It has been beautifully refurbished and has maintained its architectural features which are of Georgian nature.
“This year sees the potential for a presidential election which sees the incumbent Michael D. Higgins declaring his intention to run again. But it is only fitting that given the year in it, the opportunity of purchasing the residence of the First President of Ireland should not be passed up on.
“In purchasing this property the State has the chance to ensure that North Cork, and in particular the Blackwater Valley, has the potential to reap the benefits of the ever growing tourism industry. Many towns throughout the county and indeed throughout the country have benefitted from historical buildings being in public ownership.
“Castlehyde House and estate was originally built as part of the Elizabethan Plantation for settlers in Ireland. Its original inhabitants would have been ancestors of the former First President of Ireland Douglas Hyde.
“The House comes with valuable land and approximately 15 hectares of which fronts onto the River Blackwater and could also feature as an amenity area for the public.
“The house whilst large in itself could facilitate many uses internally – perhaps exhibitions devoted Hyde Family, Anglo Irish heritage, the Irish language, local folklore, the Irish Presidency, the War of Independence, Georgian Architecture and as a venue to support local authors and literature.
“I have put pen to paper and written to the Minister for Culture & Heritage, Josepha Madigan TD, with a view to the Government considering this proposal positively. I hope she and the Government will do the right thing,” concluded O’Keeffe.