Archive for July, 2008

Cork Houses and Gardens Qualifying for Section 482

July 16, 2008

The following houses and gardens in County Cork have qualified under section 482.

Bantry House and Gardens

Blarney Castle and Rock Close

Blarney House and Gardens

Burton Park, Mallow

Carker House, Doneraile

Carraigbarre House, Bishop Street, Cork   (Student Accommodation and steep admission charge of euro 12)

Castlemartyr House, Castlemartyr

Creagh House, Doneraile.  Guest House so admission only to guests

Crosshaven House, Crosshaven

Drishane Castle and Gardens, Millstreet

Dunboy Castle, Castletownbere

Dun na Sead Castle, Baltimore

Garrettstown House, Garrettstown, Kinsale

Kilcascan Castle, Ballineen

Kilshannig House, Rathcormac

Riverstown House, Riverstown, Glanmire

St Fachna’s Cathedral, Rosscarbery

St Johns Priory, Youghal

Woodford Bourne Warehouse, Cork

Section 482 explained

July 16, 2008

This income tax offset applies to those who have been approved by the Revenue Commissioners under Section 482 of the Taxes Consolidation Act 1997.

An individual who incurs expenditure on the repair, maintenace and restoration of an approved heritage building or garden can offset the expenditure against his income from all sources. Obviously, in order for this section to be attractive, you need income from elsewhere to be able to offset the expenditure.  Take Bantry House as an example, whatever expenditure is incurred in the house and gardens can be offset against any tax owing on monies earned from admissions, concerts, the cafe and whatever investments they may have elsewhere (the offset is not restricted to income from the house).  Michael O’Leary used to be the best example but I think he de-listed most likely because he didn’t want people wandering through his house.

In addition if repairs or maintainance are carried out to an approved object such as a picture, sculpture, book, manuscript, jewellery, installation of security, provision of public liability insurance,  up to euro 6,350 per year can be offset whereas there is no cap on the amount clawed back under the repair, maintenance and restoration of the building or garden itself.

The property has to be open to the public for not less than sixty days per year and forty of those have to run between May to September inclusive.  The access price has to be reasonable and access to a substantial part of the property must be given, ie not just one or two rooms.

There are slightly different rules for passive investors, ie for somebody who has taken an interest in the building from the original owner.  I am guessing that this applies to foreign owners, churches etc but I would need to clarify this.

The Irish Historic Houses Association and Section 482

July 15, 2008

A new Historic Houses association has recently been formed by Susan Kellett at Enniscoe House in Crossmolina in Co Mayo and George Gossip of Ballinderry House near Kilconnell, Ballinasloe in Co Galway to help ensure the survival of historic houses

Every historic building regardless of its proportion is likely to demand an owner in possession of an above average income as there is a propensity of historic houses to devour unlimited amounts of cash as I know too well myself with the vast outlay here at Kilbrogan House in Bandon.  There is a European body called The Union of European Historic Houses Association which the IHHA hopes to become a member of.

The new association believes that there needs to be some more innovative ways of allowing people to open their houses in return for some benefits or government assistance. Currently Section 482 assistance is very lucrative for those who can avail of it but many like myself here at Kilbrogan House do not qualify because whilst the house is listed, it is not considered to be of exceptional significance to be accepted under the scheme.  My house is not exactly Castletown but nevertheless is a fine example of a Georgian Townhouse with quite ornate plasterwork throughout.

I personally believe that the application of section 482 status is unfairly carried out.  I mentioned this to our local TD, Jim O’Keefe who didn’t even know what section 482 was so that’s how informed our politicians are! It’s not exactly a vote catcher so I didn’t expect any feedback, positive or otherwise and surprise, surprise didn’t get it. There are a number of houses which qualify for the section that have been restored from the ground upwards, ie with nothing having remained of the building except a shell.  This has allowed developers or private individuals with significant wealth to effectively build a new house offsetting all expenditure against income, ie paying little or no tax.  Yes, its the story of the rich becoming richer.

Those who avail of section 482 have a requirement to open their properties to the public but the sad reality is that very few people in the country even know what houses are in the scheme or what houses are open to be visited.

The new group hopes, among other things,  to swap ideas about renovation work and heating.  Modern remedies for heating such as double glazing and improved methods of insulation are often forbidden in protected structures where their installation is likely to affect the historic fabric of the building.  In addition, the scale of the houses makes everything very difficult and extremely expensive to install. For example, I am currently about to undertake the restoration of my front door  which through the years has fallen into a major state of disrepair making it difficult to open and allowing cold air to fly through it.  Even finding a carpenter qualified to undertake such a restoration job was an incredible task and eventually led me to the Letterfrack Furniture Conservation College in County Galway.  Yes, my  front door will be spending a holiday this year in County Galway.  The bill for this small project is immense and will certainly not be covered by the annual income from Bed and Breakfast and Self Catering.

I am a big believer in sharing knowledge and information about how to restore old buildings.  It took me over two years to find somebody who was qualifed to repair ornate cornicing at an affordable price.  There are plenty of workmen who will put up pre-moulded cornicing but it’s another story to find experts who will take casts of mouldings and recreate the originals.

Good luck to the Irish Historic Houses Association

The Bandon Bypass

July 15, 2008

There was an article in last week’s Southern Star about the Bandon Bypass.  In my opinion, we have been left behind and have very little chance of seeing a completed bypass in the next five years.  It’s incredible that a small town like Graignuemanagh on the Kilkenny Carlow border with a population a fraction of the size of Bandon can have a superb new bypass yet Bandon and its ever increasing population has to suffer on with very little hope of the bypass being completed.

Whoever in the Council agreed to the construction of such a steep  hill on the Clonakilty side of the current bypass should be shot.  I don’t blame trucks for still having to thunder through the town along South Main Street and St Patricks Quay and along North Main Street on the Northern side of town.  Driving through Bandon on a Friday evening is akin to driving through Waterford and we all know what hell that is.  The lucky people of Waterford see light at the end of the tunnel but we have nothing to look forward to.  Waterford has the advantage of being located on one of the five inter-urban routes linking the major towns in the country.  In the governments opinion ‘To heck with the rural areas, lets keep the cities connected’.  So to pacify all, the government allocates the council a few odd cents to tinker with the road between Innishannon and Bandon.  This road is fine.  Leave it alone and spend the money on the bypass!

Did the Celtic Tiger make us go mad?

July 15, 2008

There was a good article by Niall Toner in this week’s Sunday Times entitled ‘It was a Stupidity Boom’.

Niall notes that the Celtic Tiger brought us a proliferation and massive expansion of DIY emporiums oftentimes full of uninformed staff or those with little English where you bought loads of stuff you didn’t need or didn’t know what to do with.  The boom brought decking, patio heaters and gas fired barbecues  (Has anybody in Bandon taken a peak in the metal skip at the local recycling centre to see just how many of these end up there?)

The credit boom brought us cheap equity release to build the extensions that we probably didn’t need.  Second hand shops died a death as we all wanted something brand spanking new with all that cheap credit.  What about the old Kiddiemart shop that sold second hand children’s goods (cots, prams etc etc) on the way out of Bandon towards Macroom – It had been going for at least 15 years but folded last year because nobody wanted second hand goods anymore.

So perhaps we will now focus on maintenance, repair and maybe even acquiring second hand goods again.  Hardware shops like Deanes in Bandon will come into their own again as people realize that you can buy just the one screw that you need rather than a plastic wrapped packet of 20, most of which get thrown into the bin or stored away never to be used again.

Bandon Genealogy – The Lismore Papers

July 7, 2008

Our recent research for our website has been concentrated on the papers of the Dukes of Devonshire, the landlords for many of the inhabitants of Bandon town and the surrounding areas during the 1700s and 1800s. We are posting as much as possible on the website but Bandon researchers should check this resource for themselves if they have the opportunity, as it is extensive and rich in information on local families.

The index to the Lismore Papers (estate papers of Dukes of Devonshire) can be found online at
and is searchable. The papers themselves, along with numerous microfilms, are held at the National Library of Ireland, Dublin. The National Library does not do research to our knowledge but if you find something of interest and are unable to visit in person it may be possible to have a professional researcher check that reference for you. Where the condition of the material allows, photocopies of documents can be obtained.
We have extracted as much specifically Bandon material as practical so we hope you will find something of interest once we have it all up on the website.”

DIRT Exemption for Charities

July 3, 2008

For anybody who has to take care of the finances for registered charities, make sure that you get hold of a DIRT exemption appliction form from the bank or building society so that you don’t pay tax on the interest on any money in a deposit account. The banks etc won’t necessarily inform you of this!