Lissadell House - Co. Sligo - Ireland

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On her release in 1917, Constance was greeted by her sister Eva, Esther Roper, Helena Moloney, Marie Perolz and Dr Kathleen Lynn. She accompanied them to London where she took tea with strawberries and cream on the terrace of the House of Commons. She landed in Kingston to a huge welcome, and proceeded to Liberty Hall.

Countess arrives at Liberty Hall,June,1917

Within days she was received into the Roman Catholic Church at Clonliffe College, and was baptised on 24th June 1917, receiving the baptismal name of Anastasia. In August 1917 she received the Freedom of Sligo.

Homecoming from Prison

On her return she threw herself once more into politics. In October 1917 the Ard-Fheis of Sinn Fein was held in Dublin. Eamonn de Valera was elected as President, as predecessor Author Griffith had stood down. Constance was re-elected as one of the twenty-four members of the executive council. By November de Valera had also been elected President of the Volunteers. His resolve was… "to make English rule absolutely impossible in Ireland."

In March 1918 John Redmond died. His son, Captain William Redmond, contested his father’s seat. Sinn Fein put forward a candidate to run against Captain Redmond, and was defeated by a mere 500. In April 1918 a Bill empowering the Government to enforce conscription in Ireland was passed, accompanied by a new Home Rule Bill to sweeten the pill. Irish M.Ps withdrew from the House of Commons and a general strike of twenty four hours duration was called. Ireland came to a standstill (apart from the city of Belfast).

Despite this the Government was determined to press ahead with conscription. In April 1918 a ship-wrecked man was rescued off the coast of Galway by the police. He claimed to bes a member of Roger Casement’s illegal Irish Brigade. The authorities were convinced of a "German plot" and proceeded to round up the Sinn Fein leaders. Seventy three people were arrested including Constance Markievicz, Mrs Tom Clarke, Arthur Griffith, Maud Gonne McBride, Count Plunkett, Eamon de Valera and William Cosgrave.

This time Constance was sent to Holloway. While in custody in November 1918, a general election was called. Constance was put forward as a candidate in the Dublin St Patrick’s division. She managed to release an election address:

"It is with great pleasure that I have been accepted as SF Candidate for St Patrick’s constituency. As I will not procure my freedom by giving any pledge or undertaking to the enemy, you will probably have to fight without me. I have many friends in the constituency who will work all the harder for me. They know that I stand for the Irish Republic, to establish which our heroes died, and that my colleagues are firm in the belief that the freeing of Ireland is in the hands of the Irish people today…There are many roads to freedom, today we may hope that our road to freedom will be a peaceful and bloodless one; I need hardly assure you that it will be an honourable one.

I would never take an oath of allegiance to the power I meant to overthrow…the one thing to bear in mind is that this election must voice the people of Ireland’s demand to be heard at the Peace Conference…We are quite cheerful and ready for anything that comes…and our voices are even louder than free men’s."

The campaign was successful and Constance was elected to Westminster Parliament, the first woman MP ever elected. She declined to take her seat.

Constance was released from Holloway in March 1919, to be welcomed by Eva and Esther Roper. On this occasion she visited the House of Commons incognito to see the cloakroom peg with her name upon it. She arrived in Dublin to a welcome that a "Queen or President might envy", according to the Irish Citizen.

 Constance now took her seat in the first Dáil Eireann, which had been established by Sinn Fein and which had first met on the 21st January 1919 at a time when many of its members remained in jail. Shortly afterwards Michael Collins engineered de Valera’s escape from Lincoln jail. On his return to Ireland de Valera set about forming a Government. Arthur Griffith was appointed Minister for Home Affairs; Cathal Brugha Minister for Defence; Eoin MacNeill for Industry; Michael Collins for Finance; William Cosgrave for Local Government and Constance as Minister of Labour.

Into this new role she threw herself whole-heartedly. It was to be a difficult ministry. Within weeks she was arrested on as she travelled from Mallow to Newmarket, a town from which her attendance had been proscribed and which earned her a sentence of four months imprisonment. This time she was confined in Cork jail.

On the basis of previous experience, Constance described Cork jail as the most comfortable prison she had yet been in, with a lovely view over the river Lee, a garden full of pinks. Constance had meals sent in by local friends and at night beautiful moths fluttered against her bars. She made a rock garden for the Governor.

Constance was released in October 1919. It was at this time that the Viceroy banned the annual Cumann Na mBann conference which was to be held at the Mansion House. The authorities in Dublin Castle sought to have Constance deported to Poland as an alien. She became the subject of intense activity. Dáil Eireann had been proclaimed an illegal organisation. A general instruction had issued to all members of the Royal Irish Constabulary to secure the arrest of Constance Markievicz.

Events in Ireland had become increasingly difficult, particularly with the introduction of the Black & Tans. There was serious concern at the time for Constance’s safety. Constance herself reports having received what was described as a death notice from the Black Hand gang and the police, which read:

An eye for an eye

A tooth for a tooth

Therefore a life for a life

Throughout this time Constance continued with her work as Minister for Labour. She was constantly on her guard, and was emphatic about security. No more than one person at a time was ever allowed to leave the premises where her administration was located. Each evening all important documents were taken away and hidden in pre-arranged places.

There were several "pianos" in the office with music displayed so that in the event of a surprise raid the lady members of the staff could masquerade as teachers of music. Hers was the only Dáil Eireann Government office not raided by the authorities.

Throughout this time many members of the R.I.C. had resigned because of their refusal to partake in the suppression of the activities of Sinn Fein and its allies. Consequent upon these resignations, Constance issued a signed circular in September 1920:

"At the present moment a large number of R.I.C. men have left the Force owing to their repugnance to the outrages that are taking place and in which they are required to take part. Some of these men have narrowly escaped with their lives. In one case in which I have the details, a man was dismissed for refusing to participate in sacking a town, and was fired at on leaving the barracks. These men whether they were dismissed for refusing to carry out instructions or whether they resigned as a protest, are now without any means of support.

I am addressing this to you as I believe you to be one who would object on principle to the outrages on the people that are taking place, and that you would view with horror the burning of creameries and homesteads, and burning and looting towns, and the daily terrors the people have to suffer from the callous shootings from which so many have lost their lives. In expectation of your being willing to come to the aid of men victimised because they would not allow themselves to be used for such work, I write to ask you to co-operate with me in finding work for these men, and I would ask you if there are any vacant jobs under your patronage for which they would be suitable, to communicate with me. The majority of these men seek employment as clerks, agricultural workers, stewards, watchmen, agents, motor drivers, care-takers, etc.

 Constance remained on the move. Ironically she was arrested for a road traffic offence on the 26th September 1920. She was a passenger in a car which was stopped for having no tail light. Having been recognised she was brought to Mountjoy jail where she was detained for two months before being finally charged with conspiracy under the Defence of the Realm Act, and was sentenced to two months hard labour. Her sentence was to served at Mountjoy jail. Whilst in prison she wrote in December 1920 to Eva in December 1920, saying:-

"Jail is the only place where one gets time to read. Don’t bother about me here. As you know, the English ideal of modern civilisation always galls me. Endless relays of exquisite food and the eternal changing of costume bored me always to tears and I prefer my own to so many peoples company…I don’t mind hard beds or simple food: none of what you might call the "externals" worry me. I have my health and I can always find ways to give my dreams a living form. So I sit and dream and build up a world of birds and butterflies and flowers from the sheen in a dew drop or the flash of a seagull’s wing."

She engrossed herself in the study of the Irish language, gardening, reading and working on embroidery. When asked whether she had any particular need by the visiting Justices, her only request was dung for the garden. Whilst the poet W. B. Yeats never approved of Constance’s politics he appears to have been awed by her steely determination and fortitude:

ON A POLITICAL PRISONER

She that but little patience knew

From childhood on, had now so much.

A grey gull lost its fear and flew

Done to her cell and there alit,

And there endured her finger’s touch

And from her fingers ate its bit.

Did she in touching that lone wing

Recall the years before her mind

Became a bitter, an abstract thing,

Her thoughts some popular enmity;

Blind and leader of the blind,

Drinking the foul ditch where they lie?

When long ago I saw her ride

Under Ben Bulben to the meet,

The beauty of her countryside

With all youth’s lonely wildness stirred,

She seemed to have grown clean and sweet

Like any rock-bred, sea-born bird:

Sea-born and balanced on the air,

When first it sprang out of the nest

Upon some lofty rock to stare

Upon the cloudy canopy,

While under its storm-beaten breast

Cries out the hollows of the sea.

 With the advent of the truce in July 1921 Constance was released. She had been elected whilst imprisoned to the second Dáil Eireann which ultimately met in August 1921 when Constance was again reappointed as Minister of Labour.


CASIMIR

It was at this time that Constance received the first communication she had had in over five years from her husband, Casimir Markievicz. For him the intervening years had not been easy. At the end of 1913 he had been in Albania, the centre of the old Balkan troubles, where he made the acquaintance of Prince de Wield, who had been chosen by the international Powers in November 1913 to be the first sovereign ruler of Albania. Eight months later, at the outbreak of the war, he had responded to the manifesto of the grand Duke Nikolai "To our Nations" and who had held out a promise of autonomy for Poland. Casimir enlisted in the 12th Achtyrski Regiment of Huzzars. He was sent to the Carpathians to fight the Austrians. He was to receive the cross of St George for bravery.

He was badly wounded in the winter of 1915-1916. He lay for twelve hours in the snow with a wounded arm and shattered side, until a private soldier brought him to a railway siding, where he lay amongst other causalities waiting for a passing train to take them to hospital. All around him dozens of men died from exposure. He developed a fever, but late that evening a place was found for him in a crammed cattle wagon. After a lumbering progress of 150 miles, the living and dead were disembarked at Lwow in Galicia. He developed typhus, lost his hearing and suffered agonies for weeks with his wounds. From Lwow he was moved to Kiev in the Ukraine, and began to slowly recover. His brother in Kiev helped Casimir to earn a living teaching art, and he also produced plays in Kiev and Moscow (in Polish theatres). - He met with a fair success. It was in Kiev that he first met a young Ukrainian cousin who fell in love with him, and later remembered him:

"In those days, 1916, Casi after recovering, was full of joy of life and wrote plays, painted pictures, drunk like fish, was loved by all man and women and known in all Ucraine as the best of pals and a regular sport. I was a school girl, very much terrified by his rather wild reputation and although we were neighbours (about 50 miles) and related, our house being very convent-like, was never visited by Casi and I never did speak to him until 1919. His love affairs were many and one…nearly got him to the altar. But he really did not want to divorce Constance; he liked her and admired her in his own way.

As the Revolution broke out in Russia in 1917 Casi stayed as long as he could but as it began to be dangerous to stay in Kiev he left in 1918 and went to Warsaw.

I came there in February 1919 with my people and we met in the house of our neighbours where we both took rooms. Casi - a splendid man of forty-four, beautiful and surrounded by the romance of his life, and I, a girl well over twenty years his junior, and of a very old fashioned and puritan stock, Casi was to me like a most wonderful event. We at once felt a current of mutual understanding, friendship and something that cannot be described.

Casi was stage manager in the Polish theatre in Warsaw. I was in the Foreign Office and after in the American Consulate. He came to work in the Consulate, too, where he soon became the most popular and indispensable member of the staff. He helped everyone, was good to all, over-worked himself writing plays, painting portraits, and being correspondent first to a Polish paper and then to the Daily News and the Chicago Tribune, beside his daily work in the Consulate General, where he was a legal and commercial adviser…

It seems unlikely (as some biographers of Constance suggest) that Casimir visited Ireland in 1919, particularly in the light of the letter to him from Constance (writing from the Mansion House) in August 1921:

"My Dear Casi,

I was glad to see you writing on an envelope. I don’t suppose I should have got your letter except that it arrived in the time of the Truce. It is the first I have had from you since 1916. You asked me "What are my plans?" well, I have none, in fact it’s quite impossible to make any at a time like this. Everybody here remembers you. I have come across a great many of the old acting crowd lately and everyone beseeches me with questions. Jackie O’C., I met at Mrs Kennedy’s Cahill's (I don’t know if you know that Frances Baker married your friend the Actor) also (illegible) and they are full of affectionate enquiries. Since the Truce we have all become popular. It’s a funny world. I met Norah and P.J. in Grafton Street, I haven’t seen them since I stayed with them, and they stopped me and asked me to spend the evening. They are just as nice as ever and full of enquiries about you and told me to remember them to you and give their love. Poor Nesbit is shut up in a camp. I’m sure I don’t know why. He always used to ask after you. I never go anywhere that someone does not want to know have I heard from you. "Sink" is always wishing for you back. I met him at a fete a few nights ago.

I am so glad that you have been successful with plays, and only hope that are fairly comfortable. I’ve often been very unhappy thinking of all you and your people must have suffered. Did they loose everything at Zywotowka? Is Bababshia alive still? And what happened to Stanislas. I am so sorry about Stas. I wonder why anybody considers it wrong to marry the girl you love. Surely it was not political, he hated politics so. Do write and tell me.

Most of the pictures and some of the furniture is safe up to this. Lots of the things were stolen and destroyed in 1916.A one act play of mine was played last night with great success… if this Truce goes on you ought to come over for a bit. I know a lot of Irish now, you will be surprised to hear. Now goodbye for the present. Do write to me again soon. Yrs ever, Constance de Markievicz".


TREATY

The Anglo-Irish Treaty negotiations commenced on 11th October 1921: the negotiations and more particularly the outcome were enormously divisive, and led to the intense conflict and a bitterness that endured for three generations. De Valera elected not to attend the main discussions, although he had conducted the preliminary negotiations. He sent to London Arthur Griffith, Michael Collins, Robert Barton, Gavin Duffy and Eamonn Duggan. The British were represented by Lloyd George, Austin Chamberlain, Lord Birkenhead, Winston Churchill, Sir Hamar Greenwood, Chief Secretary for Ireland, Laming Worthington-Evans and Sir Gordan Hewart as Attorney General.

The delegates returned to Ireland on 6th December, 1921 having signed d a Treaty which gave 26 of Ireland’s 32 counties Dominion Status; with England claiming an Oath of Allegiance. The Treaty was acclaimed by the majority (who wanted to return to normal life as quickly as possible) but regarded with mixed feelings by the politicians and those who had actively campaigned and fought for freedom.

In England, Unionists looked on it as an abject surrender on the part of the government. The remaining 6 counties of Northern Ireland remained under direct rule from England.

 Almost from the beginning de Valera expressed his reservations. Constance likewise. The Treaty Debate began at University College Dublin on 14th December 1921. It was a debate marked by bitterness, contempt, vituperation and exhortation. On the 3rd January 1922, Constance rose to speak saying…

"I rise today to oppose with all the forces of my will, with all the force of my whole existence, this so-called Treaty-this Home Rule Bill, covered with a sugar of a Treaty…"

She declared that the Oath of Allegiance was a dishonourable oath, saying…

"It is an oath that can be twisted in every imaginable form…now, personally, I being an honourable women would sooner die than give a Declaration of Fidelity to King George or the British Empire…of course you may want to send the Black and Tans out of this country. Now mind you, there are people in Ireland who were not afraid to face them before and I believe would not be afraid to face them again. You would be labouring under a mistake if you believe that England, for the first time in her life is treating you honourably…can any Irish man take that Oath honourably and then go back and prepare to fight for an Irish Republic or even to work for the Republic. It is like a person going to get married plotting a divorce."

She concluded:

"O’Connell said that Ireland’s freedom was not worth a drop of blood. Now I say that Ireland’s freedom is worth blood, and worth my blood and I will willingly give it for it, and I appeal to the men of the Dáil to stand true. They ought to stand true and remember what God had put into their hearts and not be led astray by phantasmagoria, stand true to Ireland, stand true to your oaths, and put a little trust in God."

Ultimately Author Griffith, as Minister for Foreign Affairs, presented the Motion that Dáil Eireann approves of the Treaty. The date was 7th January, 1922. The result of the division was 64 for approval and 57 against.

The Dáil was split. Constance ceased to hold office as Minister of Labour as of the 10th January 1922. On the 16th January the new Government of Ireland ( now the Irish Free State) formally took over Dublin Castle. In the interim de Valera had proceeded to form a new political group known as Cumann Na Poblachta (The Republican Party).

In February Constance was re-elected President of Cumann Na mBann. The Women’s Council had rejected the Treaty by 419 votes to 63. Supporters of the Treaty were asked to resign from the Organisation. Constance travelled to London where she met Eva and Esther Roper. She addressed various meetings in London and the Midlands in an effort to explain the position of the Republicans. One such meeting almost resulted in her arrest, but she was spirited away through a back door.


AMERICA

In spring 1922 de Valera chose Constance as one of the chief speakers in a tour of America under the auspices of the American Association for the Recognition of the Irish Republic. She set sail for America on 1st April 1922, accompanied by Kathleen Barry, sister of the executed student Kevin Barry. They travelled on the SS Aquatania. Her arrival in America was greeted with considerable excitement, as 50 journalists and photographers took to the water in a US revenue cutter and boarded the Aquatania at the quarantine station in order to catch the first glimpse of Constance who was referred to as "Joan of Erin".

A reporter of the New York Evening World wrote of her…

"Despite her martial achievements she is not a martial looking person - frail rather and almost deprecatory, except when she is talking about the Irish Republic. Very tall and slender... Her soft-waving ash-brown hair is done in the quaint psyche knot at the crown of her head, her eyes behind the eye-glasses are clear blue, and there is a dash of pink in her thin cheeks. Her smile is charming. At the back of everything she says one feels emotion like a flame."

She was to enjoy a whistle stop tour of America. That the tour was a success is without doubt. The Boston Telegraph in a leader of the 27th May 1922 stated…

"Tomorrow a remarkable women will visit Boston. While there has been, unhappily, division of opinion as to the better method for Ireland to adopt and secure her freedom, no one has ever disputed the intellect or ability or vision or valour of Countess Georgine Constance Markievicz…men may differ with her in opinion, but no one can deny that history will recognise her as one of the greatest women in the world’s history. Rightly she has been termed Ireland’s Joan of Arc…men and women and children who have the opportunity to see this woman tomorrow should not let it pass, for in future years those who have gazed on the face of Countess Markievicz will proudly boast of that distinction".

The tour ended in early June 1922, and Constance returned to London. She met her daughter Maeve in a London hotel. Maeve confessed to Kathleen Barry that she was uncertain as to what her mother looked like now.

The return to Ireland was difficult. Sean O’Faolain describes how the young intellectual Republicans who met Constance during these last years of her life found it hard to penetrate the mask of tense exhaustion, the gum chewing, the chain-smoking, the shabby clothes, in order to perceive the exceptional being that still lay beneath the ruins of her beauty. The lovely, spirited, graceful Constance Gore Booth of Lissadell looked like an old woman, broken, dispirited and sad.


CIVIL WAR

In Dublin the situation was strained. An IRA officer Leo Henderson was arrested. In reprisal the Irregulars kidnapped the pro-Treaty deputy chief of staff General J.J. O’Connell. Two members of the land battalion of the IRA assassinated First Field-Martial Sir Henry Wilson on the 22nd June 1922. The Four Courts was occupied. A decision was made by Michael Collins to order the bombardment of the Four Courts. Two days later the Four Courts garrison surrendered when the building caught fire, but the battle continued as the provisional Government troops turned their attention to the head-quarters of the Dublin brigade of the IRA. The garrison finally withdrew. Constance was in the thick of the fighting, occupying a highly dangerous position on the roof, engaging the provisional Governments snipers in Henry Street until she silenced them. Acting on the orders of Cathal Brugha, she surrendered her arms, but Brugha defiantly refused to surrender and was killed.

Liam Mellows, one of the first of the Fianna was arrested and executed. The death toll continued. Harry Boland, for so long Michael Collin’s closest friend, was shot by the provisional government troops. Arthur Griffith died of a cerebral haemorrhage at the age of fifty. On the 22nd August Michael Collins was assassinated at Béal Na Bláth.

William Cosgrave was elected President. Matters continued to deteriorate. Constance was on the run, but this did not prevent her from addressing meetings, seeking support to oppose the Treaty.

She travelled to Glasgow in November 1922 where she helped edit a Republican Newspaper Eire, along with addressing meetings seeking support in opposition to the Treaty.The Republicans as Sinn Fein had put forward 87 candidates - however they refused to take their seats in a Free State parliament because of the requirement to take the oath of allegiance.

In the course of the election de Valera was arrested at Ennis and held in solitary confinement for almost a year.

The Civil War ended on the 24th May 1923. Constance, who had continued campaigning in Scotland and Northern England, returned in August 1923 to take part in the General Election. She secured her seat.


 

Resistance

Despite the truce, Constance continued the campaign of resistance. On 20th November 1923 she was arrested and brought to the North Dublin Union, where she determined to go on hunger strike. In writing of the decision to her sister Eva she said…

"I always rather dreaded a hunger strike, but when I had to do it I found that like most things, the worst part was looking forward to the possibility of having to do it. I did not suffer at all but just stayed in bed and dozed and tried to prepare myself to leave the world. I was perfectly happy and had no regrets…I am telling you this because you have such a horror of hunger strike and I want you to realise what it was to me."

She later maintained that the hunger strike had cured her rheumatism and that many others who had suffered from stomach trouble had also been cured. Ultimately the hunger strikes on the part of both the men and women were called off, but not before two men had died. She was released just prior to Christmas in 1923. Upon her release one of her first public appearances was to deliver the oration at the grave of her ex- Fianna boys, Liam Mellows on the first anniversary of his death.

It was in the spring of 1924 that she was reunited with Casimir. He travelled to London on a Diplomatic mission and he continued on to Dublin to see Constance. She was apparently excited and full of joy at the prospect of the reunion. The meeting shocked Casimir. The woman he had left had looked young enough to impersonate Joan of Arc. The same women was now aged fifty-six, she was worn out prematurely with work and privation and had no home in which to welcome him. And she was surrounded by people with whom he had little in sympathy.

In July 1924 Constance travelled with de Valera to Sligo to a monster meeting to celebrate his release from prison.

By December 1925 she had resigned from her position as President of Cumann Na mBann because of her adherence to de Valera’s new party, Fianna Fail, of which she was a founder member. De Valera was now reaching a point where he contemplated entry into the Free State Dáil.

It was a difficult time for Constance. She had not enjoyed the best of health. In a letter written in autumn 1925 (held in the National Museum, Dublin) to Stasko (otherwise Stanislaus) she wrote acknowledging she had been "very sick" but maintained that her health was now wonderful. She went on to say that she had just bought a second hand Ford car which she kept in an old stable in the gardens of Frankfort House and spent most of her spare time driving out into the countryside and sketching. She continued:

"I’ve been struggling to teach myself watercolours these last few years and am just beginning to express myself in them. Oils were too expensive for me to continue, unless I gave up politics and tried to earn money by them, also they take more time and are more trouble to cart around. I began watercolours when I was in prison in England, and it would not have been possible to work in oils there, because of the smell and being in such close quarters with other prisoners one of whom was very delicate and so I did not like to even suggest inflicting the smell of oil on her."

In a letter written in January 1926 she confirmed that Eva was the "only real relation" she had left, despite several exchanges of letters with her brother Josslyn in Lissadell over mundane property matters.

"I suppose it is very embarrassing to have a relation that gets into jail and fights in revolutions that you are not in sympathy with…"

Constance was re-elected to Rathmines Urban District Council in 1926. She involved herself with the work of St Altans Infant Hospital where her friend Dr Kathleen Lynn was vice-chairman and another friend Madeleine French-Mullen was secretary. In the winter of 1926 the Coal Strike began, and Constance made many sorties in her rackety car into the countryside to collect turf, and, despite her own poor health, carried the heavy bags herself up the dark tenement stairs to the aged and feeble.

In June 1926 came the bitter blow of Eva’s death. Constance was heartbroken, but did not attend the funeral of her sister. When asked by her friend Eithne Coyle as to whether she was going to the funeral, she replied…

"I simply cannot face the family."

 


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The Lissadell Estate is the family home of Edward S. Walsh and his wife Constance Cassidy with their seven young children ranging in age from 13 years to 3 years. Our objective As the owners of this remarkable part of Ireland's history and culture, our objective is to ensure that you will have a pleasant and memorable visit. A century has passed since Lissadell was home to a large family of young children. More than a century has passed since the rooms were last refurbished. This is a new beginning for Lissadell. The restoration of the house and grounds will take some time and we ask you to be patient. We look forward to seeing you again and again as work progresses. Many of you, your parents or grandparents will have special memories of Lissadell - why not write and tell us about these, to add to our living history? Future plans We plan to restore this national treasure as a family home, and to involve the children in continuing the legacy, and reverse the decline of past years. In particular, we plan to restore and recreate the flower and pleasure gardens, the Alpine nurseries, the orchards, the vegetable gardens; and to reintroduce livestock (Kerry cows, pigs). We hope to make the house and gardens a wonderful experience for visitors. Our open days encourage people to walk back in time to when Lissadell was the pride of Irish horticulture; to enjoy guided tours of the wonderful woodland walks recently uncovered; the unique Alpine Garden with its revêtment walls, terraces, ornamental ponds and fossilised rocks and pathways, and the regeneration of long buried plants and flowers within this magical setting; and the precisely squared upper walled in garden with its orchards. The Lissadell Estate is a private family home. Access to any part of the Estate is strictly by permission only. Edward Walsh and Constance Cassidy Restoration The restoration of Lissadell has commenced. The project will take some three to five years during the course of which it is our intention to restore the Mansion and each of the various buildings on the estate, including the forge and gasometer, to their original state. A particular focus will be the restoration of the gardens and woodlands to their former glory. A conservation plan has been prepared by David Clarke, Architect of Moloney O'Beirne, assisted by Paul Arnold, Historical Consultant. Considerable progress has been achieved with the assistance and expert advice of Laurence Manogue, consultant to Sligo County Council who have been extremely supportive and helpful. David Skinner, expert on wallpapers of the great houses of Ireland, is replacing the original wallpapers with hand blocked period copies. The major task of restoring the gasoliers was undertaken by internationally renowned Windsor House Antiques of London led by Kevin Smith. The great hall is kept warm by a meticulously restored 1890's Danish Crown salon stove provided by Tom Keane of Ovne Stoves of Cork. The intricate paintwork has been executed by Nathaniel Clements. Dermot Gale and Rose Cronin have skilfully restored and framed the works of Yeats, Constance, Eva and Casimir and the photographic records of the arctic exploits of Leigh Smith and Henry Gore Booth. Mary Healy has accomplished all photographic restoration. The Website has been developed by 80p Web Development - New Media Specialists, 80project Design Systems, www.80p.net, specialists in graphic design, website development and design, content management systems, corporate logo identification and corporate presentations, desktop publishing and print brochures, marketing, advertising.