Report 1 (Monday October 8th 2001)
( To view Progress Report 2 please click here )
|For some months now, a small group of local
people from around the Woodlawn area of east County Galway has been having meetings (often
informal) for the purpose of trying to find ways of co-operating with anybody who might be
interested in restoring Woodlawn House -
which has a very long, and a very interesting history that is closely connected with the Lord
Ashtown title (held by the Trench
The local group has also been receiving
much-valued help from a few individuals who live outside of the County Galway area. (The
people in question already have experience in connection with the type of restoration work
Summary of events so far:
|The owner of Woodlawn House (Mr.
Michael Lally) has been told about the local group in a private conversation some
months ago. He confirmed then that he did have plans to put the property up for sale
within a short time (which he has since done). It was also mentioned to him at the time
that a set of Internet page addresses had already been hurriedly booked - which MIGHT be
of use to a potential buyer. (These www page addresses are listed further down this page,
and there is a possibility that they would be given free of charge to any buyer who
restores Woodlawn House.)
|Following an article in connection with Retirement Villages which appeared on the front
page of the Galway Advertiser Newspaper (September 6th 2001edition), one
member of the local group contacted Dr.Bill Grealish; and, it seems that Dr.Grealish feels
Woodlawn House might be suitable for his business purposes.
|All members of the local group feel that
Dr.Grealish would be an ideal person to develop Woodlawn House. It is thought that in
addition to turning the property into a Retirement Village, he (and his associates) might
also be able to add further buildings for the provision of other medical services on the
grounds of the estate - which is thought to cover approximately 115
acres. Such services could include (for example) a facility for looking
after people suffering from Alzheimer's disease. There are obvious implications for the
local employment situation; and for attracting extra visitors into the area - which all
existing local businesses could expect to benefit from.
|The Heritage Council have
also been contacted by a member of the local group; and it is understood that a
provisional arrangement has been made for a lady from the Heritage Council to visit
Woodlawn House on October 18th 2001 - with a view to helping out with a
|It is thought that a large amount of money
would be needed to restore Woodlawn House (probably several £millions); and, that this is
likely to be seen as a big deterrent by potential buyers.
|The group has received several reports which
suggest that government grants are much more likely to be given to potential buyers for
the restoration work if there are clear signs of local interest, local involvement, and
As an aid to making progress,
the local group is thinking about forming a registered company (with limited liabilities).
This would be one of the kind referred to in the Companies Act of 1963.
Initially (at least), the main functions of
the registered company would be:
|To help any eventual buyer that
might emerge to get the maximum benefit of the government grants which are understood to
be available for heritage restoration work involving very historic buildings (such as
|To help raise money for the project from
public sources (if necessary).
|The name of the company which
has been decided on by the group is:
WOODLAWN HOUSE RESTORATION TRUST LIMITED.
At the most
recent of the group's formal meetings (held on Saturday October 6th 2001), it was decided
that it might be best to keep the two functions outlined under a) and b)
above separate from each other - through the use of two different registered
companies. This is largely because of the differences in complexity between the two
functions: and it is felt that if one company was used to try and carry out both of these
functions at the same time, there is a major risk it might get completely bogged down.
|It was further decided at the Saturday October 6th 2001 group meeting that the main things the group needs to be thinking about at
|Making arrangements for the Heritage
Council visit which has been provisionally planned for October 18th 2001. It is
understood that the lady in question has indicated that she would like to meet the local
people who are interested in seeing Woodlawn House restored. There is also the
very important matter of making the necessary arrangements (for the visit) with the owner
of the property (Mr. Michael Lally).
|More members: there is a
strong feeling in the group that it should make a serious effort to try and attract more
local members. Although a number of ideas were put forward and discussed, no clear plan
emerged as to how this might best be done. All members were asked to give further thought
to this important matter between now and the next formal meeting of the group.
It was decided at the Saturday October 6th 2001 meeting that the ONLY
requirement for membership of the Friends of Woodlawn House group is this: a desire to see the property
Woodlawn House, Woodlawn, County Galway, Republic of Ireland.
of the above photographs were taken on October 8th 2001.
Internet page can also be viewed at the following web site:
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Normal Mail: "St Albans", New Inn, Ballinasloe, County Galway,
Republic of Ireland.
Top of page PHONE (from Republic of
Ireland): Ballinasloe (0905)
FAX: Ballinasloe (0905) 75853
PHONE (International): 00 353 905 75825 & FAX: 00 353 905
First placed on Internet: October 8th 2001
Most recent major update: October 11th