Newspaper for Crossmaglen, South Armagh, Newry and Down.

Ambitious plans to restore original Bard of Armagh’s Homestead

An ambitious project aimed at restoring the Lislea homestead of the original Bard of Armagh has been awarded more than £9,000 in Lottery funding.

The 18th century dwelling house located at Doctor’s Quarters is where Bishop of Dromore, Dr. Patrick Donnelly lived in hiding and ministered his faith during the Cromwellian era.  It was during this time he is believed to have assumed the title of Phelim Brady, the wandering minstrel referred to in the famous ballad The Bard of Armagh.

Now a committee made up of local volunteers has set about exploring the possibility of restoring the ruined building, which is in a severe state of disrepair.

Newry, Mourne and Down District Council, through the Ring of Gullion Landscape Partnership Scheme, has received £9,300 from the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) for the project which will explore the potential to bring the dwelling back to its former glory and will facilitate discussion and planning with its owners.  Ultimately, it is hoped the house and its rich local and ecclesiastical history will be shared with a wide audience at home and abroad.

The Bard of Armagh’s history is one of a man who had a profound impact on his own parish and also throughout Ireland during the late 17th and early 18th centuries and the owners of the house, along with the Bard of Armagh Homestead Committee, share a desire to protect this unique dwelling and carry the story of this world-renowned character to future generations.

Praising the initiative, Newry, Mourne and Down District Council Chairperson, Councillor Gillian Fitzpatrick said such projects are of vital importance to the area.

“This project will fund the up-skilling of a local group helping them to realise a long-held wish to restore this piece of history,” she said.

A spokesperson for The Bard of Armagh Homestead Committee said the group is thrilled to have received the support of the Heritage Lottery Fund.

“It’s a dream come true, the light at the end of the tunnel.  With the help of the Ring of Gullion Landscape Partnership team and this start-up grant, we see the project moving forward quickly.  This project will be a really positive addition to the area, it will add significantly to the upward curve in tourism and heritage,” the spokesperson said.

The Bard of Armagh Homestead Committee is actively seeking new members to bring this project forward and encourages anyone interested to visit for more details on how to get in touch.