Call for action on historic Kingswood home of Katharine Tynan

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Padraig Conlon
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Local Councillor Charlie O’Connor called for action regarding the condition of the historic Katharine Tynan House in Kingswood Heights at the November meeting of the Tallaght Area Committee.

He said he was responding to concerns of the local community regarding the site and asked the Council CEO to appreciate the importance of the House and a need to explore the possibility of restoring the area.

He reminded the meeting that Katharine Tynan was born on 23rd January 1861 and was an Irish writer known mainly for her novels and poetry.

She was married in 1898 to the English writer and barrister Henry Albert Hinkson and usually wrote under the name Katharine Tynan Hinkson.

He added that the Katharine Tynan home is Whitehall, in Kingswood Heights, which is one of the few surviving historic houses in Tallaght, which stands on a 90 acre farm which was bought in 1994 by the Irish Rugby Football Union for possible development then as a sports stadium.

Whitehall c.1900

He said the site was the subject in 1995 of a planning application to demolish the house – which is not listed for preservation, and this was opposed by Kingswood Heights Residents Association and the Tynan Society and the application was subsequently withdrawn.

Charlie O’Connor also added that “since then Whitehall has continued to deteriorated and the Tynan Society recently reported, following a visit, that the house is in a shocking condition, with slates missing, gaping holes in the roof, windows and doors boarded up, ceilings torn down, floors ripped up, the marble fireplace is gone and panelled doors missing”.

In the response to Charlie O’Connor, the Council stated:

“The Chief Executive acknowledges the concerns of the local community and the local historic importance of the building due to its connection with the poet Katherine Tynan.

“The existing house known as ‘Whitehall House’ is a ruinous and derelict site and has been prior to 2002, it remains surrounded by a perimeter security fences. Part IV of the Planning and Development Act 2000 (as amended) provides legislation pertaining to Protected Structures.

“We would welcome the restoration and re-use of the structure, however there is no prescriptive measures to order the owner to restore and re-use the current structure, therefore it is a matter for the owners.

“The site is in private ownership and currently as far as the Council are aware there is no intention by the owners to develop the site.”

Councillor O’Connor believes “it is a great shame that this is the situation regarding the home of such an important Irish historical figure as Katharine Tynan, who is also commemorated through the naming of the local road, from Fettercairn to Kingswood Heights.”

He said that he intends to continue to press for action in respect of the issue and is also stressing his concern directly to the Irish Rugby Football Union.

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