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New lease of life at Lissadell after epic legal battle

THE family who restored one of Ireland's most historic homes has declared its vast estate open, a year after winning an epic legal battle.

Barrister couple Eddie Walsh and Constance Cassidy won the right-of-way row at Lissadell House after legal action by Sligo County Council.

The court case forced the closure of the house, the ancestral home of Constance Markeviecz, and its estate for five years.

Yesterday, family and friends joined the couple to announce the 418 acres of ancient woodlands were being opened to the public for cycling, walking and adventure holidays.

The move will create dozens of new jobs and give a multi-million euro boost to the north-west economy.

A water sports centre is being launched on the two miles of beach which forms part of the estate and a Gaelic football and soccer pitch is being completed in a bid to attract local and county teams to the area.

It is a remarkable turnaround for the estate, where WB Yeats wrote many of his most famous works.

"We've left the court case well behind us," said Eddie Walsh. "It was fantastic to be back and have the house re-opened last year and we have spent the winter looking at what else we can do to open this stunning estate.

"We want Lissadell to be opened to a new generation of visitors - so we have concentrated on making it a destination for family fun, so that's why we will have so many activities on offer.

"We are a key tourist attraction on the Wild Atlantic Way, and we want to help contribute to the tourist experience and get more people to stop off and stay in Sligo, Donegal and Leitrim as part of their visit."

The estate re-opens this Thursday for the Easter holidays and includes a mossy maze for kids and an Easter Egg hunt next Sunday.

Two new members of the team are adventure holiday specialist Mick Roddy and French chef Guillaime Lamaindais, who is taking over the restaurant.

Constance spent yesterday guiding local children through the maze, hidden away in the woods.

"This is what Lissadell is all about and should be about; families enjoying what we have to offer," she said.

Irish Independent