A haunted house in Rathfarnham has been saved from demolition by planners who have refused development at the landmark site.
The owners of Killakee House in the Dublin mountains, which was once a well-known restaurant, had submitted plans for holiday homes on the land beside a heavily wooded area and a main country road.
The 18th-century farmhouse, next to the notorious Hellfire Club, has its own ghoulish story.
In the late 1960s workmen reported sightings of a large black talking phantom cat. Since then other ghostly apparitions have been spotted. A medium said they may be the unhappy spirits of two 18th-century women involved in satanic cat-worshipping rituals at Hellfire Club meetings.
The Black Cat of Killakee remained in local lore when the house was turned into a restaurant and then a family home.
The residents had applied to South Dublin County Council last year to demolish parts of the building and redevelop the outhouses and stables, which were all protected structures.
The proposed development would entail demolition, alterations and extensions to return Killakee and Dower Houses to use as a single-dwelling house, and to convert the stables to use as three holiday home residential units.
The works also would have involved the construction of a two-storey glazed atrium structure to the south western side and a first-floor terrace to the southern end.
However, the development has been blocked by An Bord Pleanala, following refusal by the local county council in September of last year.
It heard submissions from An Taisce who emphasised the need to preserve or restore the architectural features of the main house and to retain the brickwork features in the stable block.
The inspector for An Bord Pleanala recommended that the development be refused. This was on the grounds that the buildings on the appeal site are either protected structures under the South Dublin County Development Plan 2004-2010, or have been identified in the National Inventory of Architectural Heritage as being of conservation interest.
- Claire Murphy