PICTURES: Sinister graffiti on historic gate house near Duckett's Grove

'Help' was among the words sketched on the centuries old walls

Darren Hassett

Reporter:

Darren Hassett

Email:

news@carlowlive.ie

Sinister graffiti and illegal dumping is blighting an historic gate house at the entrance of the road that leads visitors up to one of Carlow's most iconic tourist attractions, Duckett's Grove. 

The disused structure, which is on privately owned land, has seen increased anti-social activity and councillors have described it as "unsightly and disappointing". 

Cllr Fergal Browne has called for the "owners of the towers to play their part in preserving one of the largest gate houses in Europe". 

According to the Department of Heritage's National Inventory of Architectural Heritage, the granite ashlar gate lodge and gateway at Russellstown Cross is dated to have been built around 1845.

Cllr Fergal Browne said: "Several years ago I enquired if Carlow County Council were interested in possibly buying the towers but I was told that this was not an option as the council already had adequate space etc. in Duckett's Grove.

"The private owners of the towers have indicated to me that there are people out there interested in buying the towers and subject to proper planning taking into consideration the historical significance of the towers it is feasible to turn the towers back to living accommodation."

Cllr Browne added: "The archway to the left of the towers is also a cause of concern as there is always a danger of a high vehicle passing underneath damaging it.

"Carlow County Council have regularly cleaned up the site but until the building is occupied dumping and other anti-social behaviour will persist.

"Works were recently completed to the front of the Towers in terms of kerbing, road surfacing and new signage. It is time for the owners of the Towers to play their part in preserving one of the largest gate houses in Europe."

Duckett's Grove is a historical castle in Carlow is a very popular tourist attraction. 

Cllr Walter Lacey said: "It’s very disappointing to see illegal dumping continuing at the towers. This problem has been going on for some time. The addition of graffiti has added to the problems. 

"The towers are located at the entrance of the road that leads visitors up to the wonderful Duckett's Grove. It is a jewel for Carlow with the walled gardens and tea rooms and is a great attraction for local visitors and tourists alike. 

"The litter and graffiti at the towers site is very unsightly for those passing through. I have asked Carlow County Council to make contact with the property owners to have the area cleaned up. It may be a suitable location to consider CCTV cameras to monitor the area."

You can read the owners' reaction to this story and their efforts to sell the property, on Carlow Live tomorrow (Friday).