Former Ireland soccer boss restoring ‘Landlord’s House’

WORK has commenced on the restoration of a historic Dunfanaghy building 90 years after it was abandoned.
The property, known locally as the ‘Landlord’s House’, was purchased recently by former Republic of Ireland manager Martin O’Neill.
Horn Head House, as the stately manor was originally named, was purchased in 1700 by the Stewart family.
Its first occupant was Captain Charles Stewart, a veteran of the Battle of the Boyne under King William III in 1690.
At the time it was the largest house in the area and was described as “a fine modern mansion, with the lawn coming down to the harbour and town of Dunfanaghy in the fore and middle ground”.
In 1707 Captain Stewart was appointed High Sheriff of Donegal, a position held by his Horn Head House descendants until 1935.
Horn Head House remained as the seat of the Stewart family until 1931 when it was abandoned after being buried in sand.
During WW1 the Stewart landlord allowed large swathes of foliage to be cut and the grass was shipped abroad as fodder for cavalry horses. As a result the dunes became mobile and Lurgabrack townland was eventually covered in sand.
The main house was pronounced “doomed” in 1931.
Now, after nine decades of dormancy, Martin O’Neill plans to resurrect the vast property.
The soccer manager hit the headlines  last year when he lodged an objection to a planning application lodged by Dunfanaghy Youths.
In a seven page document Mr O’Neill outlined his concerns, citing environmental issues, traffic and pedestrian access and changing the character of Horn Head.
Despite his objections though, Donegal County Council has now given the pitch the go ahead.
Welcoming the refurbishment of the Landlord’s House, Creeslough community worker Ben McFadden said locals were delighted that it is being restored.
“We in the Dunfanaghy and Creeslough areas are delighted to see such a building being brought back into use.
“It’s nice too that planning has been granted for the football pitch and overall, it’s a good news story for this entire area,” Mr McFadden said.

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