The late Mariga Guinness, a co-founder of the Irish Georgian Society, once claimed that “Ireland has more follies to the acre than anywhere else in the world”. Now a “unique” architectural folly in the Kilkenny countryside is to be restored with the assistance of Government funding. The Department of Heritage has granted €12,000 for conservation and repair works to the 18th century Stroan Fountain on the former Kilfane Demesne near Thomastown. The project has received additional funding of €6,000, jointly contributed by the local authority and the Belfast-based Follies Trust, a charity devoted “to encouraging the appreciation and conservation of Irish follies”.
Richard Cody of the Tullaherin Heritage Society said the fountain was built in 1766 by “public subscription” on the estate of Colonel Gervase Bushe, as a water source for the tenant peasantry, and was still in use “right up to the 1960s”. The design of the limestone structure, with a domed base supporting an obelisk, was “a mystery” and he hoped that readers of The Irish Times might be “able to shed some light on its meaning”. The fountain, already listed as a protected structure by the National Inventory of Architectural Heritage, is on Kilkenny County Council-owned land adjoining the N9 national route and is accessible to the public.