22nd October 2013
By TheCork.ie Politics Reporter
Deputy Sandra McLellan has called on the Minister for Arts Heritage and Gaeltacht to ensure that Vernon Mount House on Cork’s Southside to be renovated and opened to the public.
Speaking today during the course of questions to the Minister, the Cork East TD and Sinn Féin spokesperson on Arts and Heritage, stated that the house had fallen in to neglect.
Deputy McLellan said:
“Vernon Mount is something of a neglected treasure in terms of our history, and in particular in terms of the Georgian Period. The House was built in the late 18h century for a wealthy Corkonian, during the period of Cork’s history that is associated with the ‘Merchant Princes.’
“It is, a remarkable piece of history in terms of its artistic and architectural values, particularly in terms of its interior paintings and would be among the most significant surviving buildings from that period. It was a significant Cork landmark and is featured in a painting by the well-known artist of the time Nathaniel Grogan, ‘Man Drinking from a stream in the grounds of Vernon Mount House’.
“However, as things stand, the building is in a state of disrepair, looks very poorly from the exterior, and is inaccessible to the public. It seems a terrible shame to me that we might have such an architectural gem in Cork, and have such little access to it.
“This is an issue the local community have taken up, and I understand that the Irish Georgian Society have shown a substantial interest in it. There are proposals for it to be the centrepiece of a new public park taking in the grounds as well as substantial ground to the north. A publicly accessible Vernon Mount House would add tremendously to such an initiative, and would be of great benefit to tourism in the area. I am pleased that the Minister has also accepted this is a building of serious value, worthy of preservation of protection.
“However, the Minister has a responsibility, as this is a protected building, under the National Monuments Act to safeguard the building.
“He, along with Cork County Council need to take action to ensure the building is preserved, and opened to the public so the public can we enjoy what this house has to offer, and to teach a new generation about that period of our history.”