Monday 19 March 2018

Donated ancestral home left derelict by State

Ralph Riegel

AN American nun whose multi-millionaire philanthropist father donated a vast estate to the State has vowed to return when the Government finally honours its promise to her late parents and restores their former home.

The McShane family donated Killarney House in Kerry to the State 20 years ago -- but were then appalled when the house was effectively ignored and allowed fall into near-dereliction.

This was despite the fact it ranks as one of the most historic homes in the south-west -- and boasts an incredible location near the Killarney lakes.

Irish-American construction tycoon, John McShane, was a friend of US President Franklin D Roosevelt as well as several taoisigh. However, John and his wife, Mary, fell in love with Kerry and chose to spend the latter years of their lives in Killarney House from the 1950s.

John left his beloved Irish home as well as substantial property including islands in the Killarney lakes to the Irish State.

However, the State then allowed Killarney House to fall into disrepair and near-dereliction.

John and Mary's only daughter, Pauline, became a nun and has lived a life of devotion and poverty.

When Sr Pauline -- who is now based in Pennsylvania -- first heard of the damage to the house two years ago and the fact that squatters had even taken up residence there, she was heartbroken.

Now, she has warmly welcomed the decision of Environment Minister John Gormley to provide up to €1m for initial preservation and renovation of her parent's beloved home.

"I am delighted. This is something we were hoping for since we turned over the property," she told Radio Kerry.

Irish Independent

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