Rose Cottage War of Independence Centre officially opened by Taoiseach Leo Varadkar

Press Release: 14 November 2023

Rose Cottage War of Independence Centre in Ballinalee was officially opened by Taoiseach Leo Varadkar on Sunday last, 12 November.

This historic landmark, which was home to the late General Sean MacEoin, and headquarters to the North Longford Flying Column, played an important role during the Battle of Ballinalee 103 years ago, and has been regenerated into an exhibition centre, community hub and coffee shop.

The community driven development is funded by the Department of Rural and Community Development through the Town and Village Renewal Scheme, with Longford County Council and Ballinalee Community Group.

Speaking at the official opening ceremony, Taoiseach Leo Varadkar spoke of the significance of the Irish history associated with North Longford and the importance of Rose Cottage to the local community in Ballinalee. “Alongside the Rebel Trail, Rose Cottage will preserve the history and identity of North Longford and of General Sean MacEoin during the War of Independence and will allow you, in this part of the country to tell your significant story.”

He continued, “Rose Cottage, formerly a derelict building, has been transformed into a wonderful asset for the locality and will provide employment here at the heart of Ballinalee. It will also be an ideal stopping off point for tourists helping visitors to appreciate and learn the heritage of this special place in Ireland’s Hidden Heartlands.”

Longford County Council Cathaoirleach Cllr Colm Murray paid tribute to the local community for their dedication in making the vision of Rose Cottage a reality. “It is right that the people of Longford celebrate the heritage and history of Sean MacEoin and I want to praise the people of Ballinalee and the wider county who have helped to preserve his memory and achievements over the years.”

“Ten years ago, Iar-Taoiseach Enda Kenny came here to unveil a statue to Sean MacEoin, and we are delighted to have Taoiseach Leo Varadkar here with us today to officially open Rose Cottage, the home of Sean MacEoin and the home of many strategies devised, which lead to freedom for our country.”

The official opening ceremony, including a wreath laying ceremony and a plaque unveiling at Rose Cottage War of Independence Centre by The Taoiseach Leo Varadkar, was very well attended with hundreds gathering.

In the heart of the village of Ballinalee, the building has been transformed into the Rose Cottage War of Independence Centre. The centre hosts the exhibition which will tell the story of the War of Independence and the Battle of Ballinalee. The centre will also function as a community hub and cater for visitors with a coffee shop on site.

This centre has been developed with a vision to support the regeneration of their local community, while celebrating local heritage and preserving local history for future generations. They community of Ballinalee has been pivotal in bringing the project to fruition.

The work was completed by local firm Ciaran Hourican Contracting Ltd, with Will Design Associates as engineering consultant, and interior design by Nine Yards Design. The interpretation project that will be displayed in the centre has been put together by In Hand Guides Ltd.

Further information is also available on or by following Longford County Council on social media.