28 May 2022

Former Legan rectory to feature on RTÉ programme this weekend

This coming Sunday, March 08, Kilglass house in Co Longford is to be featured on RTÉ’s new series of ‘The Great House Revival’, a programme with architect Hugh Wallace.

Kilglass house, which was first purchased by Ronan Daly and his husband Charles Lambert back in 2014, was originally built as a gentleman's residence for Sir Henry Bate Dudley. A major part of the house was built in 1804 for Sir Henry, with some earlier parts of the house thought to date from 16th/17th century as part of an old tower house. The building also acted as a former Church of Ireland rectory from 1800.

A self professed ‘plastic paddy’, owner Ronan Daly always harboured dreams of relocating to Ireland, due in part to his mother hailing from Co Wexford. The eventual purchase of Kilglass house came about after the couple first searched the country far and wide in search of their dream home.

They eventually settled upon Co Longford, due to the accessibility of the county and kind nature of locals.

Ronan explained the Leader: “We were looking for a part of Ireland that was very accessible and Longford was the one.

“It is such a forgotten county. People that don't come here are missing a trend. We looked at houses elsewhere, but we hit upon Longford and it won. It is just a nice gentle county.

“And Legan is just a really friendly, welcoming village.”

Also read: Longford house to appear on RTÉ show this March

Their involvement in the Great House Revival series came about through Longford heritage officer, Mairead Ni Chonghaile, who had received correspondence from RTÉ seeking applicants for the show and advised the lads of the opportunity to take part.

Filming then began in October 2018, with television crews making the trip to Kilglass house at intermittent stages throughout the build. Upon commencing the project, the couple soon realised the house was in urgent need of attention, with dampness, falling ceilings and crumbling rendering.

This saw a large portion of their budget spent on structural work in the very early stages of the project, which Ronan admits was the most challenging aspect of the whole experience.

“The biggest challenge was trying to stay on budget and trying to find money.

“Cash flow was a very difficult part of it. You are robbing Peter to pay Paul.

“We were very lucky we had a very understanding builder,” he added.

The house, which is on the National Inventory of Architectural Heritage, is now 90% complete (80% of the overall project), with both Charles and Ronan now calling it home.

“We are living here now. I have been living here all of the way along,” Ronan explained.

“About 90% of the actual house is complete.”

Although admitting it had been ‘a lot of hard work’, Ronan says their involvement in the show and the project was an enjoyable experience, though one they couldn’t have done alone.

He stated: “I would really like to thank Sweeney architects for helping us the whole way along and of course the builder, Ciaran Hourican, we couldn’t have done it without them.”

Kilglass house and their enthusiastic owners will feature on The Great House Revival on RTÉ 1 this coming Sunday, March 08, at 9:30pm. Make sure to tune in!

Also read: Drumlish resident to be put to 'The Test' on television

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