Athy Lions Club and the local Chamber of Commerce have come together to fundraise for the purchase White Castle for the people of the south Kildare town.
White Castle is scheduled to be sold at a distressed property auction in Dublin’s Shelbourne Hotel on Friday 6 July. It has a knock-down reserve price of E50k. The castle was sold to local businessman Gabriel Dooley for E1.2m in 2005.
The monies raised will be made available for the purchase of the Castle and discussions are ongoing with the local authority as regards its involvement in a bid to secure the Castle’s future.
Speaking to the Leader, local historian and solicitor Mr Frank Taaffee, said White’s Castle has played an important part over many centuries in the history of Athy and the building itself sited in the middle of the town adjoining the Crom a Boo Bridge provides an iconic and readily recognised image of Athy.
“The opportunity to acquire the Castle may never again arise in our lifetime. This appeal goes out to everyone and anyone interested in securing and preserving an extremely important element of the town’s built heritage.
“If you can help your donation, no matter how small, will be greatly appreciated. An account is being opened in the Allied Irish Bank, Athy and anyone wishing to support this campaign can lodge funds into the account,” he added.
Meanwhile, the issue was discussed at length at Athy Town Council’s monthly meeting last week. Local councillors requested the local authority consider the possibility of purchasing White Castle to secure it in public ownership.
“The Council is actively considering options that might facilitate the Castle reverting to public ownership and is facilitating the engagement of a number of groups to look at all available options. Notwithstanding the Council’s own financial position, the Council were unanimous in there agreement that every effort should be made to assist interested parties,” Athy Town Council said in a statement.
Speaking to the Leader, Cathaoirleach Richard Daly said its first priority is to protect that castle.
“The costings of E5Ok will not prevent enormous difficulties, but before the costing makes a decision to purchase, we have to know its future and what it guarantees for Athy. We are looking at all our options. It is a public auction so we are careful not to declare our hand but if someone has an interest in it, we would ask they would engage with the council before the auction.” The public auction is set to take place on 6 July next.