CASTLE Saunderson has been declared as one of the ‘most at risk’ historical buildings in Ireland.
Located just a few miles from Newtownbutler on the Cavan-Fermanagh border, the castle has been declared as at risk by the National Trust for Ireland, An Taisce.
This historic building, once home to founder of modern Irish Unionism Colonel Edward Saunderson, has been included in An Taisce’s 2021 top ten buildings most in need of attention, and the body has recommended conservation management for the site.
Noting the importance of buildings such as Castle Saunderson to the heritage of their local areas, a Taisce spokesman said “these buildings could be lost to future generations unless direct action is now taken to preserve them.”
An Taisce said Castle Saunderson was “a classical house of significant architectural interest” which dated back centuries, and in its current form was “a fine Gothic Revival country home” which was once “one of the most important country demesnes in Cavan.”
“Although the Saundersons abandoned the property in 1927, it wasn’t until 1977 that they sold it to a businessman, and he undertook some much-needed restoration work,” said the Taisce spokesman.
“For a while it became a hotel before being sold again in the 1990s, after which it was gutted by fire. In 1997, Castle Saunderson and its grounds were acquired by Scouting Ireland.
“Sadly, as is the case with so many of Ireland’s dilapidated and heritage buildings, restoration was not the chosen option.
“Instead, the scouts constructed a new centre elsewhere on the ground at a cost of €3.7 million.
“In the meantime, the old castle stands forlorn and continues to deteriorate.”
Local interest in Castle Saunderson has been growing in recent years, particularly since Cavan County Council revamped the estate’s walking trails.
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