Context 140 - July 2015

20 C O N T E X T 1 4 0 : J U LY 2 0 1 5 The trust works on an all-island basis. Soon after its formation we contacted all conservation and heritage officers in the Republic of Ireland inviting applications to work with us to conserve a folly in their area. There was a good response and two projects were eventually selected. In the first, Galway County Council asked us to assist with the conservation of a cast-iron mausoleum erected in memory of Colonel Maurice Dennis in 1863, situated in Clonbern graveyard. It is a fascinating structure ‘evidently modelled on the Choragic monu- ment of Lysicrates in Athens, a very popular prototype much used for the tops of church towers as for tombs’. We celebrated its conservation in 2011 with our third publication Clonbern Graveyard:its monuments and people . As a result of the research carried out on this mausoleum, it was redesignated as being of national significance. The second project in the Republic of Ireland concerned a beautiful little roadside fountain, built of local sandstone with a domed base supporting an obelisk finial, situated at Kilfane, County Kilkenny. It was erected in 1766 by the local landlord, Gervase Bushe, and designed by Thomas Seigne, resembling a first-world-war German helmet. The water supply to the fountain had been damaged and its pond was overgrown. Following conservation and repair in 2010 it now serves its original purpose. In 2013 the Follies Trust began a project to conserve two small watch-houses on a former bleach green near Tullylish, County Down.There were three main processes in the linen industry: the spinning of the yarn, the weaving of the cloth and the finishing processes, which included bleaching.The brown cloth was immersed in chemicals and then spread out on the bleach green (this process continued until the 1950s in this area). The hazards associated with placing valuable webs of linen outside included damage from straying animals and theft. To prevent theft and damage watch houses were erected of coarse rubble masonry with brick dressings and coping, and round peepholes. The structures were intended to house one person on watch, without concessions to comfort.There was a doorway but no door, and scarcely room to sit. The successful conservation by the Follies Trust of these reminders of Ulster’s industrial past was much appreciated by the local community. The trust recently completed the conservation of a teahouse in Castlewellan Forest Park, County Down, involving the careful removal of vegetation and repointing with lime mortar. In January 2015 work began on an obelisk near Limavady, County Londonderry. This monument, erected in memory of Henry Barre Beresford in 1840,was showing its age. On completion of the project in May, the trust launched its fourth publication, The Beresford obelisk: a legacy in stone in the RoeValley. The strap line on the trust’s website (www.follies-trust. org) states: ‘Follies are joyful little buildings which aim to please’.The trust is working hard to raise awareness of Irish follies and to conserve many of them. Our philosophy is minimum intervention, and we always follow conservation best practice. Most important, we never lose sight of the glorious nature of these structures: their unpredictability, their mysteriousness, and the joy and aesthetic pleasure they give us all. PrimroseWilson is chairman of the Follies Trust Far right:The Kilfane fountain before restoration The conserved Dennis mausoleum in County Galway All photos are copyright of the Follies Trust Further reading Curl, JS (1978) Mausolea in Ulster , Ulster Architectural Heritage Society, Belfast Craig, M and Craig, M (1999) Mausolea Hibernica ,The Lilliput Press, Dublin