National Trust summer house ‘will be restored’

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Four teenage boys are in police custody today after an arson attack at an Enniskillen National Trust property.

Police said that the Garden House structure at Florence Court was targetted in an arson attack at around 8.30pm on Thursday evening.

The wooden structure had a thatched roof and was completely destroyed in the attack.

Four boys, one aged 14 and three aged 15 were arrested and are helping police with their inquiries.

Jim Chestnutt, National Trust Manager at Florence Court said: “Sadly last evening, our Summer House at Florence Court was totally destroyed by fire. Most importantly no-one was injured in the incident. The fire brigade and police attended the scene, and the cause is being investigated.

“This is a very sad event for National Trust staff and volunteers at the property, and for the thousands of visitors who visit Florence Court annually. The thatched building surrounded with its heather clad walls sat on a high area overlooking the Pleasure Gardens and was a favourite destination for the beautiful views across the gardens to Benaughlin and distant mountains.

“This news is devastating for the staff and volunteers who love and care for Florence Court, one of our most beautiful places in Northern Ireland. However, as a conservation charity we are committed to looking after these special places forever and the team at Florence Court is confident that the Summer House can be fully restored.

“Florence Court remains open to the public this weekend, and our team will continue to provide a warm welcome to our visitors.”

The Summer House which has been destroyed was built in 1993; and was a replica of an earlier 18th century building on the same site which had been removed during the 1930s. It was also a favourite backdrop for photographs, and it holds fond memories for many people. Its most well-known visitor in 2014 was HRH Prince Charles, when he included the Summer House on his visit to Florence Court.