Lissan House

Places to go and see in the Cookstown area:

Lissan House

Lissan House



Welcome To Lissan House and Demesne

Lissan House is an enchanting country residence set within a 250 acre demesne of ancient woodland and forestry. The estate was created in the 17th century and remained the home of the Staples family for nearly 400 years, reputedly the longest habitation by any single family of a country house in West Ulster. Lissan came to prominence in 2003 when its popularity helped it reach the national final of the BBC Restoration programme.

Following extensive redevelopment the house opened its doors in spring 2012 to reveal modern interactive exhibits and original family furnishings which take you on a unique journey through the history of the estate and the family characters that have shaped it. The demesne also features a challenging adventure playground for children, a wooded picnic area, walled garden and secluded walks to explore.


Plans for Lissan


Research undertaken by the Lissan House Trust identified that Lissan needs to be a combination of things. Among the activities researched were the potential for a museum, accommodation, venue hire, education and activities. It was clear from the research that none of these activities would be feasible on their own but as a combination would provide Lissan with the critical mass needed to become a sustainable and significant project.

Consequently in developing the development options for Lissan House and the Estate the Lissan House Trust has focused on those uses and activities which restore Lissan House as a place to come and “do” and offer a cohesive sympathetic blend of products and activities on site that will enhance the visitor experience.

This is a complex proposal with many elements, summarised as follows:



History and Heritage:

Securing the most interesting areas of the house to provide visitors with a snapshot of Lissan as it was including the provision of interpretive materials and access to archive material through the creation of library.

  • Community space and Venue hire
    Refurbishing the ballroom, rooms in the creamery wing and the main reception to allow flexible space to be hired for exhibitions, conferences, small weddings and meetings. These will also be made available to local community groups.
  • Walled garden:
    Partnering with Lissan Community Development project to provide an organic garden within the old walled garden.

  • Woodlands:
    Partnering with the Woodland Trust which plans to make part of the Woodland at Lissan a premier site in Northern Ireland.
  • Walks and Trails:
    Providing signage and trails around the site for walkers, pony trekkers and others.
  • Self catering accommodation:
    Converting the yard outbuildings to six self catering units for use alongside residential conferences / training and activity programmes or on a one off basis. The Moneymore Gate lodge will also be refurbished and let in partnership with HEARTH Housing Association.

  • Catering:
    Conversion of part of the Creamery building to provide a café and service area for staff and the remainder of the estate;



As part of the restoration project the Trust anticipate that the following activities will be undertaken:

  • Lectures and Illustrated talks on the Plantation of Ulster;
  • Guided tours of the house (focusing on different aspects of the heritage);
  • Guided tours of the estate;
  • Guided walks of the ancient woodlands, ice-house and forge;
  • Exhibitions of art by Sir Robert Ponsonby Staples;
  • Musical evenings using the Bechstein piano;
  • Plays;
  • Traditional d;ancing classes;
  • Choral evenings;
  • Arts, crafts and creative writing classes
  • Small weddings;
  • Bursary breaks;
  • Horse riding;
  • Walks;
  • Cycling;
  • Local community activities including rural development activities, other outdoor pursuits, vintage tractor rally etc; and
  • Farmers market in the walled garden.


Benefits and Beneficiaries

It is anticipated that the implementation of the proposed redevelopment of Lissan House and the surrounding estate will result in a number of benefits including:


  • Maintaining the historical and architectural legacy of Lissan House and its estate through the conservation of the building and the commercial exploitation of the restored property;
  • Development of a community asset which will become an accessible area for the local community and tourists alike;
  • Educating people of the historical and heritage value of Lissan House and its Demesne;
  • Environmental and economic regeneration of a currently unexploited building and estate in the Cookstown District Council area;
  • Promotion of Lissan House and the Estate as a high quality destination within Cookstown District Council and the Sperrins area, providing a valuable catalyst for tourism regeneration in the region;
  • Establishing a financially viable project.


In addition to providing an asset of significant heritage value combined with a tourism attraction, the Lissan House Trust promoters also consider that the redeveloped Lissan House can offer a resource for the promotion of peace and reconciliation which will provide accommodation in empathetic surroundings where a range of courses and programmes can be delivered. The Trust considers that the rural location of Lissan House coupled with the planned meeting facilities, self catering accommodation and outdoor activities provides an ideal setting for a resource centre which could assist in tackling the ongoing religious, political and racial issues experienced throughout many areas of Northern Ireland.

Lissan House Gallery: