Exiles Forum

Lisburn, Co. Antrim, Northern Ireland


Debate begins on future use of Castle House


Castle House - debate on future has begun.A DEBATE has begun on the future of one of Lisburn's most historic buildings, Castle House.

Castle House, once the private residence of philanthropist Sir Richard Wallace, has been the centre of further education in Lisburn since it became the Municipal Technical Institute in 1914.

However, once the rebuilding of the South Eastern Regional College is completed in 2010, Castle House will no longer be used by the college and Lisburn City Council is keen to ensure the 19th century mansion house is retained and have been examining ways in which it could be used.

One of the suggestions put forward by senior managers to the council's Leisure Services Committee is that Castle House could house a permanent exhibition in relation to Sir Richard Wallace, highlighting his international significance as a fine art collector and his relationship to Lisburn.

Another proposal is the relocation of Lisburn Museum to Castle House, providing improved display and storage of the Council's permanent collection.

This would leave the existing museum building in Market Square to accommodate a revamped Irish Linen Centre and 'Flax to Fabric' exhibition, as well as releasing areas of the building for wider commercial use. A third suggestion is to relocate the Island Arts Centre from its current home at the Civic Centre to Castle House.

The relocation of the IAC would free up space within the Civic Centre, which could be used as office accommodation. The potential to create performance space and restaurant/bar facilities at Castle House, in close proximity to the Historic Quarter, could significantly assist the development of a much needed night time economy in the city centre.

No decision has yet been taken and it could be next year before any formal proposals are put forward. In the meantime Councillors and officials are further examining the future potential of this historic local landmark.

Ulster Star