O’Neill highlights importance of preserving rural heritage
Michelle O’Neill has said that rural development funding is playing an important part in preserving rural heritage across the north.The Rural Development Minister was speaking as she attended the official opening of Lissan House outside Cookstown.
The 17th century country house on the banks of the Lissan River has been restored by Lissan House Trust (LHT) at a cost of £1.2million and opened to the public as a new tourist attraction and heritage facility. Part of this funding was an award of £250,000 from South West Action for Rural Development (SWARD) under the Rural Development Programme.
The Minister said: “This restoration project is a prime example of why it was important to have a strand of funding within the Rural Development Programme for the conservation and upgrading of the rural heritage. The work on Lissan House will preserve a part of the heritage of this area which stretches back some 400 years. As a significant tourist attraction it will also boost the local economy bringing visitors, tourists and schools to explore and enjoy the historic facility and its extensive grounds.
“The Directors of Lissan House Trust are to be congratulated on the realisation of their dream for the building. My own department’s contribution, through the Rural Development Programme, is evidence of our long term commitment to this area and to rural development throughout the north.”
The renovation project involved internal and external restoration of the House. and forms part of an overall £5million redevelopment plan which will include renovation of the outbuilding creamery to create exhibition and gallery space, conference facilities and a cafe.