Judge visits Yeats's grave before inspecting Lissadell rights of way
A HIGH Court judge stopped off at the grave of WB Yeats yesterday on his way to the ancestral home of Countess Markievicz to cast his own eye on disputed rights of way.
Mr Justice Bryan McMahon travelled to Sligo as part of the hearing into a dispute between the current owners of Lissadell House, barrister couple Edward Walsh and Constance Cassidy, and Sligo Co Council over right of way claims across the estate.
Mr Justice McMahon, who is chairman of the board of the Abbey Theatre, made a brief stop in the north Sligo village of Drumcliff, where the poet and Abbey co-founder is buried beneath a headstone with the famous inscription "Cast a cold eye on life and death, Horseman, pass by".
He then travelled the remaining 6km journey westwards to the 410-acre estate on the shores of Sligo Bay that is at the centre of a dispute which has ended up in his court.
Mr Justice McMahon spent several hours inspecting the roadways through the estate.
Mr Walsh has told the court that the council's claims were designed to "humiliate, embarrass and undermine" everything that had been done on the estate since it was purchased by him and his wife in 2003.
They bought the estate, which was the birthplace of 1916 revolutionary Countess Markievicz, for almost €4m, and have since spent €9.5m restoring the house and gardens and creating a year-round tourism product.
They say that they purchased the property on the understanding that rights of way did not exist.
The two claim they cannot continue to operate it as a tourist amenity if rights of way exist.
The hearing is expected to last several weeks.