The Ely Arch in Rathfarnham ... covered in graffiti and vandalised only a few months after renovation work (Photograph: Patrick Comerford, 2011)
The current edition of the Dundrum Gazette has followed up my recent blogpostings on the state of the Ely Arch in Rathfarnnham with the following half-page report on page 6:
Rathfarnham: Call for more attention
Concern for Ely Arch monument
‘This is a beautiful corner of Dublin, and the local authority must pay more attention to our heritage here. We are approaching the 250th anniversary of the erection of the arch – I hope it’s still standing in 2017, and that it’s fully renovated.’
Local residents in Rathfarnham have expressed concerns this week over the state of the historic Ely Arch.
The arch, which was recently renovated and cleaned, has been targeted by graffiti vandals, and litter has been left strewn around the important monument.
Local resident, the Reverend Patrick Comerford, told the Gazette this week that he is deeply saddened by the state of the arch, which is approaching its 250th anniversary.
“This is a unique area that needs more careful attention from South Dublin County Council so that it can remain the rich resource it is for generations to come.
“It seems odd that there would be so much spent on the restoration of Rathfarnham Castle and the Ely Arch would be allowed to fall into disrepair,” said Rev Comerford.
The arch, which originally led to Rathfarnham Castle, was built to mark the recovery of Rathfarnham Castle and estate by the Loftus family in the second half of the 18th century.
It now stands near the banks of the River Dodder and was not included in the Rathfarnham Castle renovation.
Large metal doors which were installed at the arch have since been removed.
“My worry is now that someone can get inside and set fire to the whole inside of the structure,” said Rev Comerford.
The gateway was erected in 1767 by Henry Loftus, Earl of Ely, who was also responsible for the classical redesign of Rathfarnham Castle.
After the division of the estate in 1913, the arch became the entrance to the Castle Golf Club, but was later abandoned in favour of the more direcy Woosdie Drive entrance.
When asked what he would like done, Reverend Comerford was adamant that the arch be taken in hand by the Office of Public Works and made available to the public.
“I would love to see the interior taken in hand and that it would be opened as a tourist attraction.
“I think it has huge potential and the OPW should take it in hand.
“This is a beautiful corner of Dublin, and the local authority must pay more attention to our heritage here. We are approaching the 250th anniversary of the erection of the arch – I hope it’s still standing in 2017, and that it’s fully renovated. Is it too much to ask that it might be fully restored and open to the public?”
For more on the Ely Arch, see http://revpatrickcomerford.blogspot.com
For other postings on the architectural heritage of South Dublin see:
The Bottle Tower, Churchtown.
Brookvale House, Rathfarnham.
Camberley House, Churchtown.
Dartry House, Orwell Park, Rathfarnham.
Ely Arch, Rathfarnham.
Ely House, Nutgrove Avenue, Rathfarnham.
Fernhurst, 14 Orwell Road, Rathgar.
Fortfield House, Hyde Park, Terenure.
No 201 Harold’s Cross Road, the birthplace of Richard Allen.
Homestead, Sandyford Road, Dundrum.
Kilvare House, also known as Cheeverstown House, Templeogue Road.
Laurelmere Lodge, Marlay Park.
Mountain View House, Beaumont Avenue, Churchtown.
Newbrook House, Taylor’s Lane, Rathfarnham.
Old Bawn House, Tallaght.
Sally Park, Fihouse.
Scholarstown House, Knocklyon.
Silveracre House, off Sarah Curran Avenue, Rathfarnham.
Synge House, Newtwon Villas, Churchtown, and No 4 Orwell Park, Rathgar.
Washington House, Butterfield Avenue, Rathfarnham.
Westbourne House, off Rathfarnham Road.