Building with links to Siege demolished

Berwick Hall, the site occupied by the Duke of Berwick during the Siege of Derry, which has now been demolished.
Berwick Hall, the site occupied by the Duke of Berwick during the Siege of Derry, which has now been demolished.

A building in Donegal with key links to the Siege of Derry has been demolished.

Berwick Hall at Liscooley. was named after the Duke of Berwick, who is said to have lived at a house on the site which he used as a base during the Williamite Wars and the Siege of Derry.

Berwick Hall, the site occupied by the Duke of Berwick during the Siege of Derry, which has now been demolished.

Berwick Hall, the site occupied by the Duke of Berwick during the Siege of Derry, which has now been demolished.

The Duke was an illegitimate son of James 2nd and chose the site as his headquarters on a mansion of the site during the Siege. It was pulled down and rebuilt at the turn of the 20th century.

However the remaining building has now been demolished, the Journal has learned.

Local man and keen historian Sean Browne says he believes that the building should have been listed to preserve the historical heritage of the site.

“I would worry that because this was able to happen, other important buildings in the county might face a similar fate. Berwick Hall had a really strong connection with the Siege of Derry which is a major part of the history in the North West.

“It’s very disappointing that we no longer have the building there.”

Donegal County Council says it is currently looking into the demolition of the building and is “bitterly disappointed” that this had happened.

A spokesperson for the Council added: “Berwick Hall is not included on the Record of Protected Structures nor was it included in the survey data initially prepared by the National Inventory of Architectural Heritage surveyed by Duchas the then Heritage Service in 2000 and subsequently used as the basis for the Record of Protected Structures as adopted by Donegal County Council in 2004.

“Latterly Berwick Hall was surveyed as part of the Buildings of Ireland survey carried out between 2009-11 and then included on the National Inventory of Architectural Heritage (NIAH) prepared by the Department of Arts Heritage and the Gaeltacht and forwarded under Ministerial recommendation to Donegal County Council in December 2012.

The spokesperson added: “Notwithstanding the above the Council remain bitterly disappointed that Berwick Hall has been demolished as we had previously engaged in 2006 with the owner in respect of the value and opportunity that the structure presented.

“While the building was not restored a satisfactory decision was reached in its retention with the owner made fully aware of the importance and value of this historic building.

“Donegal County Council continues to positively engage with owners of historic buildings to explore the potential for restoration and extension of historic buildings to ensure there retention for future generations.”