Newspaper for Crossmaglen, South Armagh, Newry and Down.

Conservation workers uncover ancient ruins at Derrymore

A group of special needs patrons who are part of the Learning Disability Day Opportunities operated by the Southern Health and Social Care Trust uncovered an historic find while working on a conservation project at Derrymore Woods near Bessbrook recently.

The ruins of old walls were discovered hidden amongst trees during routine clearance work by the group, who have been based at Derrymore House for the past four years.

The Trust arranges a wide range of Day Opportunity programmes to help people with learning or physical disabilities to develop their skills, abilities and interests and, during this project, the group were thrilled to make the rare discovery.

Local people tell the story that Mr Richardson, who owned the site and old mill, wanted to build a new castle-style home for himself and the family, but after only building as far as the ground floor windowsills, he abandoned the project.  Now almost 130 years later his work has been rediscovered. The National Trust who own and manage the site are working to record and interpret the find and its contents.

Miceal Crilly, Assistant Director for Disability Services for the Southern Trust, congratulated the staff and workers on the significant find: “I would like to congratulate all of our staff and clients on this amazing find, with their great determination and meticulous attention to detail in uncovering and preserving these ruins, they should be proud to share this fantastic piece of local history.  Projects like this greatly benefit the health and wellbeing of our clients, giving them a sense of purpose, belonging and achievement and ensuring that they get the most out of life,” he said.

To find out more about Day Opportunities contact Noreen McComiskey on Tel: 028 3883 3248 or email: