Setback for plans to transform historic Kilkenny Georgian house into spiritual retreat
A decision on whether to allow a beautiful Kilkenny Georgian house with a storied history stretching back to the 18th century to be transformed into a spiritual retreat has been put back for a second time.
The Seraph Foundation, owners of Kilfane House on the Kilfane Demense outside Thomastown and the 79 acres of land on which it is situated, has applied to Kilkenny County Council to restore the dilapidated mansion and turn it into a retreat.
The house was put on the market for €1.85 million back in 2016. However, the Seraph Foundation only paid a fraction of that price – €395,000 – last year for the house, according to the residential price property register.
The Seraph Foundation is hoping the transformation of the house will attract visitors from all over the world. It initially applied for planning in March this year and expected a decision by the end of April.
However, this was pushed back when the local authority reverted to the owners requesting further information regarding the sympathy of the proposed changes towards the protected structure.
Council planners had concerns about the plans to remove the grand staircase and the removal of the floorboards to be replaced with concrete flooring. Other areas where they have requested further information are plans for windows, chimneys, and ventilation, among other requests.
In July, Kilkenny County Council received a 22-page response from the Seraph Foundation addressing the concerns. Just last week, the local authority once again returned to the foundation requesting finer details in relation to some of their conservation concerns.
If given the go-ahead, the Seraph Foundation would like to transform and revive the existing guest bedrooms, function room, and dining hall.
The aim is to attract people from all over the world to the estate with the promise of providing a sanctuary to people of all backgrounds and beliefs, where they can come together to share, learn and develop spiritually.