New Zealand Tablet 16th July 1897 p 9
CLARE.— Threatened Confiscation of the Famous Spa at Lisdoonvarna Public Meeting of Protest
On Sunday, May 9th an important meeting was held in Lisdoonvarna to protest against the action of the Representative Church Body of Ireland in their endeavour to grab the Lisdoonvarna sulphur springs, the use of which has been free to the public for a number of years. The people of the far-famed watering place have determined to resist by every legal means the threatened invasion of the public rights, and to fight out to the end the pretensions raised by the Representative Church Body. On the facts as disclosed the action of that body cannot be described other than as most unjustifiable.
Something like the same claim endeavoured to be sustained now was put forward thirty years ago by Captain Stackpoole, the former landlord of the district. He built a well house on the site ot the principal Spa which was walled in, the people being denied the access that up to that time they had freely enjoyed. The indignation felt by the people manifested itself in a practical manner. The gates set up by the landlord were blown up and the house damaged
A claim for compensation by Captain Stackpoole was opposed, and the judgment of the late Chief Baron Pigott was that the putting up of the gates constituted an infringement of the public rights. For the injury to the house some slight compensation was allowed, and there the matter rested until, some years after practically the same decision was delivered by Judge O’Brien
Subsequently the estate went into Chancery, and a local improvement committee having been formed, a lease of the house, grounds and wall was obtained at a rent of £15 a year. Since then the committee by the aid of voluntary subscriptions have improved and beautfied the Spa for the benefit of visitors. The house has been enlarged, modern pumps have been bought, new baths have been erected out of the funds collected by the committee. Now it appears that the Church Representative Body, who were the largest incumbrancers on the estate have bought out the other interests having claims upon the property, and as a consequence of their ownership the court lease given to the committee lapses. One of the first acts of the new landlords, regardless of the monies spent by the committee, has been to advertise the letting of the Spa, and even though the Improvement Committee made an offer to rent what is virtually the property of their own creation it has been rejected, it is said, in favour of a syndicate proposal to take over the springs and baths at £300 a year. These tacts demonstrate pretty clearly the injustice of the proceeding comteinplated by the Church Representative Body, and it is to be hoped that the people of Lisdoonvarna will succeed in defeating snch an aggressive and unwarrantable interference with public rights.