Cllr McCarthy: Welcome return of Bessboro Folly


Cllr Kieran McCarthy has welcomed the rebuilding of Bessboro Folly on the grounds of the former Bessboro Mother and Baby Home in Mahon.

In March of this year the enforcement planning section of Cork City Council investigated the partial demolition of a historic nineteenth century stone folly. Demolition work took place on the building reducing it to its lower floor.

The Sisters of the Sacred Heart of Jesus and Mary released a statement at the time, explaining their decision to demolish half of the folly; “Advice was received that the building’s structurally poor condition posed a grave danger to the public. We were left with no option but to have major structural work carried out on the Bessboro Folly. This ruin is regularly used by young people – and as there were serious safety issues directly related to the extremely poor condition of the building – we had to have this work done to ensure public safety.

Before proceeding, we sought professional advice and we established the building is not on the Record of Monuments and Places (RMP) as maintained under the statute by the Archaeological Survey of Ireland and the Commissioners of Public Works. We also advised the ‘Commission of Investigation into Mother and Baby Homes’ of our intention to carry out this necessary work”.

At the time Cllr Kieran McCarthy criticised the decision to partially demolish the structure saying permission was not granted by Cork City Council for the work; “No permission was granted by the council to interfere with the monument or the folly, so an enforcement file was opened letter sent asking for restoration of the building. The folly has now been rebuilt “block by block” and has been brought back to its original state. My thanks to all involved on all sides in expediating the reconstruction side”.

The two-storey stone folly was built around 1880 and was described as an important surviving landscape feature associated with the gardens of Bessboro House.


Bessboro Folly, September 2019