The future of the Frank McCoutt Museum, which is housed in Leamy House in Limerick, is now in doubt after the building was withdrawn from auction on Thursday (April 28).
The building, which was formerly the school where the author was educated, was put on the market on the instructions of a bank with an initial asking price of €325,000, the Irish Times reports.
The estimated price was later reduced to €140,000–€180,000 in advance of going for auction in Dublin.
Allsop auctioneers said the building was removed from auction because the relevant documentation was not submitted in time to allow potential buyers to inspect it ahead of the sale.
Una Heaton, who is the curator of the museum, said she is trying to buy the building, which was previously owned by her husband John. Leamy House was used as collateral for a business investment, but the venture was unsuccessful and the building was put on the market by the bank.
Leamy House, formerly known as Leamy’s School, was built in 1843. The Tudor-style property has a tower, turrets, ornamental chimneys and gargoyles carved in limestone and sandstone.
The building currently houses four tenants, including the museum.
Heaton said she is determined to keep the museum open, but its future is uncertain.
“We are still under pressure but the bank are giving us a bit of breathing space so we are trying to buy the building with a bit of help from friends.”
Heaton has erected a “save our building” banner in front of the building and is also pursuing a Facebook campaign.
A portion of the author’s ashes have been placed in a box overlooking his former classroom.
Nearly 100,000 people have visited the museum, which opened in 2009.