Tuesday 23 July 2019

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Home & Property

A new era for Belvelly Castle

Wednesday, 17th April, 2019 4:16pm

Talk about a dream house!

Belfast-born Garry and Anne Wilson have lived and worked in the UK all of their adult lives. They have always wanted a base in Ireland and in 2016 they were in the market for a restoration project and came across Belvelly Tower House in Cobh.

When they bought the tower, it was a ruin with ivy covered walls - it even had a tree growing out of the top of the tower. The tower itself hasn’t been lived in for nearly 400 years and was at the point of no return when Garry and Anne chose to invest their savings in order to bring it back to life.

Garry Wilson said: “We both grew up in Belfast in the ‘70s and ‘80s. Belfast was a dark place back in those times, there weren’t the opportunities for our generation so we had to move over to England, but we want to keep a connection to Ireland. We are not very far away, we have still got lots of family who live here, and this will give us a base back on the island.”

Their redevelopment of Belvelly Castle was the focus of Sunday’s episode of ‘The Great House Revival’ on RTÉ 1.

The programme documented the team of stonemasons and engineers as they deal with the rain-soaked tower house. The biggest challenge facing them is to halt the rot, keep water out and seal it from the elements.

The team worked incredibly hard to stabilize the walls and fix the cracks that threaten to take the entire tower down.

Tower houses are notoriously difficult to restore and Belvelly is no different. Hugh Wallace said: “I have to admire Garry and Ann for taking on such an unknown entity, there is no way of accurately budgeting for a project like this because you will be hit time after time with surprises.”

Garry’s uncle John Montgomery was the lead engineer while designer and architect Peter Plaskitt was tasked with creating a contemporary and comfortable place to live in this dark, cold tower.

This was by far the biggest challenge seen on ‘The Great House Revival’.

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