NESTLED at the foot of Kilbroney Mountain, a charming old-style cottage is giving curious visitors a chance to step back in time. Terry Rooney began building his cottage last December in memory of his son Owen, and grandson Frederico, who both died by suicide. Inside the cottage – built by 92-year-old Terry using wooden pallets and plasterboard – visitors are treated to a captivating collection of historic artefacts, exquisite paintings, fascinating newspaper clippings, and an array of old farming utensils.
Entrance is free, and all Terry asks for is a small donation to PIPS Hope and Support, the Newry-based suicide prevention and awareness charity. “I wanted to raise money to help save lives,” explains Terry. “PIPS is a brilliant charity, providing fantastic and much-needed help and support. “I lost both my son and my grandson to suicide and this is my way of helping people who are struggling with their mental health.” Terry’s collection includes a 100-year-old bike, a World War One travel trunk and over 40 carpentry tools from yesteryear. Family and friends were able to view the stunning memorabilia when they gathered at Terry’s home at Kilbroney Valley last month to celebrate his 92nd birthday.
All guests were invited to make a small donation to PIPS – and Terry is inviting anyone else interested to drop in and have a look. “All I ask for is a donation to PIPS,” says Terry, who adds to his impressive collection on an almost daily basis. “Most things in here are over 100 years old and that includes lots of farming machinery and lots of photos. It keeps me busy and is for a great cause.”
Terry has already raised over £360 for PIPS since opening his cottage to the public. The charity provides support to families and friends who have been bereaved through suicide and offers a range of services including counselling, support, and suicide first aid and intervention training.
Padraig Harte, fundraising, communications and marketing manager at the charity, said Terry’s dedication and passion is inspiring. “We are truly grateful that Terry has chosen PIPS Hope and Support as the beneficiary of his efforts,” said Padraig. “The funds raised will greatly contribute to our crisis counselling services, which rely heavily on the generosity of individuals like Terry. “This unique display is a testament to Terry’s passion for preserving history. It is truly inspiring to witness the dedication and craftsmanship that went into building this cottage. “Terry is not only a generous benefactor, but also a true gentleman. “On behalf of our entire organisation, we would like to wish him a very happy birthday. His dedication and commitment are truly inspiring, and we are honoured to have him as a supporter.”
Terry’s cottage, located outside his home at ‘Glenowen’, 2 Kilbroney Valley, Rostrevor, is open to the public seven days a week, from 10am to 6pm. A large PIPS banner sits on the front fence of Terry’s house. Donations made during these visits will continue to support PIPS Hope and Support, ensuring that its vital services can be sustained.