TWO 18TH-CENTURY artisan cottages which were originally homes for employees of the Slane Castle estate in Co Meath were yesterday given to Meath County Council by Lord Henry Mountcharles.
The buildings, on a lane just a few metres from the main street in the village, have been vacant for many years and will require total refurbishment by the council, which plans to use them as a tourism and heritage centre.
The cottages were formally presented to the council yesterday and Meath county manager Tom Dowling said: “I am very pleased to officially inherit another part of the heritage of Slane and look forward to the challenge of turning these historical buildings into a home for the preservation of the heritage of the villagers.”
This year marks the 250th anniversary of Slane as a village and Lord Mountcharles said he thought it was the right time, “to kick-start the rehabilitation of Slane, which is a village of enormous historical importance”.
With the opening of the Brú na Boinne centre, through which all visitors to Newgrange, Dowth and Knowth must pass and which is on the opposite side of the Boyne river to Slane, villagers said they had lost tourists and revenue.
Lord Mountcharles said, “at the time I was concerned about how the centre would damage the economy of Slane and I accused John Bruton [then taoiseach] of economic vandalism”. He was trying to “revitalise Slane as a tourist destination”.