There was a good turnout in the Mote Park sunshine last Sunday for the official unveiling of the renovated lion at Lion’s Gate. The lion had guarded the gate for 229 years but had recently travelled to the UK to be restored.
Believed to have initially been designed by James Gandon and placed on the gate by the Croftons, the lion was restored by Coade Stone in Wiltshire in southern England.
Mary O’Connor, who cut the ribbon on the day, has been a member of the Roscommon Heritage Group since it was founded in 1983 and described Sunday’s unveiling as “a dream come true.”
She said: “For me it was like a dream come true. I had been trying to get something done for many years. We got a new heritage officer who seemed interested and the heritage group and the other people involved were also very interested. It was local enthusiasm and of course the Irish Georgian Society who are a nationwide group.”
Mary also praised the work of Gerry Dervin who carried out construction work at the site and Frank Scott, who brought the lion to England. She also had some interesting information about the lion.
“It was brought back to where it was first made (to be renovated). It was Eleanor Coade who first discovered how to make Coade stone. She invented it. It’s much more durable than real stone,” she said.
David Molloy, chairperson of the Roscommon Heritage Group, which was the driving force behind the project, said: “The renovation work is a significant achievement for the group. We are now looking for new members to consider further projects in the area and we are meeting in Gleeson’s Townhouse next Tuesday at 8.30 pm.”
For more information on heritage projects and the Roscommon Heritage Group, visit the Roscommon Heritage Group Facebook page.