Suspicious blaze destroys Leixlip history

GARDAI are treating as suspicious two fires at historic buildings which occurred in Leixlip over the weekend.

GARDAI are treating as suspicious two fires at historic buildings which occurred in Leixlip over the weekend.

On Sunday morning, the Salmon Leap public house, once run by the family of the original Arthur Guinness, and the house where Fenian leader, William Francis Roantree (1829-1918) was born, were both destroyed by fire.

The Salmon Leap property, formerly one of Leixlip’s most admired watering holes, has been shut for some time.

Leixlip Town Council chairman, Colm Purcell, said it was a very very sad for Leixlip to have two suspicious fires in a town which is struggling to keep business viable.

Cllr. Purcell said there was damage to houses on either side of the Roantree house and the Courtyard Hotel had to be evacuted for a period.

Gardai from Lucan and Leixlip are investigating the circumstances of both fires.

Gda Sgt. Mark Campbell from Lucan said Gardai responded to a call from the Kildare County fire brigade based at Leixlip at 12.30am in relation to the pub.

The fire started in an outhouse in the car park of the premises and it appears that a corrugated roof was forced open to gain entry. The fire was extinguished and the scene preserved by Gardai.

Whilst Gardai were preserving the scene of the initial fire, it was discovered that a fire had also started in the main pub building.

The brigade also extinguished this blaze.

Extensive damage was caused to the buildings and road diversions were put in place locally for a number of hours subsequently.

Problems for the authorities were made worse by a further fire in Leixlip Main Street a short time later, around 1.20 am.

This was at another historic building the birthplace of William Francis Roantree, whose story has been told in a book by Leixlip based historian, Michael Kenny.

Cllr. Purcell called on anyone with information on the fires to give it to the Gardai.

Sgt. Campbell said nobody was injured as a result of these fires and that Gardai at Lucan (01-6667300) and Leixlip (01-6667800) are investigating and would welcome any assistance in these instances which are being treated as suspicious.