Dramatic story of Tory island house disappearance is published

The book “The House That Disappeared On Tory Island” by Omagh-based journalist Anton McCabe is being launched in Letterkenny Library on Thursday 22 November at 7 pm by the Donegal Democrat’s Frank Galligan.

The book “The House That Disappeared On Tory Island” by Omagh-based journalist Anton McCabe is being launched in Letterkenny Library on Thursday 22 November at 7 pm by the Donegal Democrat’s Frank Galligan.

The book deals with one of the most dramatic court cases ever in Donegal, when film maker Neville Presho was awarded damages against Tory hotelier Patrick Doohan for the destruction of his house on Tory.

Neville had bought his dream house on Ireland’s most remote inhabited island. When he returned after a spell abroad, the house had vanished. All that remained were a few pieces of rubble in the foreshore.

When Neville approached them, the authorities failed to investigate. When he approached islanders, it is claimed they didn’t see anything.

Neville lost his health, his career, his marriage and his children. In the 1970s and 1980s he had been one of Ireland’s leading film-makers. After he discovered the destruction, he was never able to work again.

Omagh-based journalist McCabe details a sad and sometimes funny account of events. Tory islanders had told him what had happened.

Neville’s fight for justice ignited when he bumped into McCabe on a ferryboat.

After years of frustration, solicitor, Michael Gillespie, with a passion for justice took on the case. They won, after a dramatic hearing in the Irish High Court.

The judge found that Doohan, the island’s richest man, had demolished the house which blocked his hotel’s view of the
sea. The case made headlines round the world.

“I wrote the book two years ago, but due to personal reasons it didn’t come to fruition until now. The editor was Inish Eoghain based, Bridget O’Toole, only for her the book would not exist today,” Anton said.

Anton recalls the talented woman who lifted documentation and manuscripts and brought the words to life on the pages of his book. Sadly Bridget passed away before the book came to this stage of events.

“I was lucky that I attended every single court sitting in relation to the case and I also had access to all the documentation. The case received international publicity.

“You have to remember that this is a man who fought courageously for 15 years for justice. At times, he was in low spirits but he continued to battle on with hope and courage.

“You must take into account that this talented film-maker underwent a personal tragedy and since the house was destroyed he cannot work anymore,” he said.

The book includes the full High Court judgements in the case, so readers can make up their own minds. There is a West Donegal launch in the Caisleáin Óir Hotel, Annagry, on Tuesday 27 at 7pm. Omagh-based Drumkeen Press has published the book.