independent

Wednesday 1 October 2014

Jacobite hospital restored to glory

Hubert Murphy

Published 18/06/2014 | 05:28

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How the old forge looked before being transformed.
The restored forge at Sheephouse.

AN ANCIENT forge and a house used as a hospital to treat Jacobite soldiers after the Battle of the Boyne have been transformed into the region's latest tourist hotspot.

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AN ANCIENT forge and a house used as a hospital to treat Jacobite soldiers after the Battle of the Boyne have been transformed into the region's latest tourist hotspot.

The Sheephouse Country Courtyard close to Oldbridge is a luxury short term self-catering accommodation development, with up to 50 beds available each night.

For owners, Des and Ann Gaffney, it's the culmination of years of effort.

'It was classified as a monument so we had to plan carefully,' stated Des.

But already they've had visitors from Sweden, Germany, the UK and America and the interest from Northern Ireland is huge.

'It is a very historic area and we hope it adds to tourism in the locality,' Ann added.

The old forge, which now sleeps 10, had to be extensively renovated, but a lot of the original features have been kept intact, including the stonework.

The forge had been derelict for years and was formerly run by Bob Curran up to the 1960s. Pictures of him now adorn the walls inside.

The main house sleeps 15 and was a hospital during the Battle of the Boyne.

Later, monks took it over and valuable items they had were buried for safety in a nearby quarry and later discovered and sent to the national museum.

Three cottages and apartments in the courtyard house between two and four people.

'Being so close to the battle site there has been great interest from the north and when they ring they have a very interesting add on - 'Are we near Funtasia?'. Obviously, it's a popular place too,' Ann remarked.

The restoration work is immaculate and so delighted are local residents, that they made a special presentation to the couple last week.

A framed copy of Seamus Heaney's 'The Forge' will now hang in the old forge.

'The Oldbridge and Sheephouse Residents Association felt the work in restoring this place should be recognised,' stated Austin Monaghan.

'We hope to create jobs in the future when it takes off,' Des added.

Drogheda Independent

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