Liam’s Lodge is a project of The Saoirse Foundation. Liam’s Lodge will cater for the medical, educational and recreational needs of families coping with sick children who suffer from Batten Disease and other rare diseases. Liam’s Lodge will provide a week of much-needed respite for the families, who will also receive additional training in the extra skills required to care for highly dependent children.

Liam’s Lodge will assist and take over the care in line with the wishes of the parent or guardian for their prince or princess. “We will treat them like royalty,” according to Tony Heffernan. The children and their families will be able to relax in a lovely, fresh, open area away from the city, away from the hassles of everyday life. Parents who spend the entire year under immense pressure will enjoy a home away from home in a relaxing and supportive environment.

In 2014, calls went out for builders, trades people and manufacturers to help build Liam’s Lodge on a site in Blennerville, Tralee, Co Kerry.

Described by one local politician as “one of the most significant planning applications submitted to Kerry County Council during the past quarter of a century,” Liam’s Lodge will be Ireland’s first-ever National Respite Centre for children with rare diseases and their families.

There was a heartwarming response from professionals across the construction sector, and planning permission for the respite centre was granted in early 2017 by Kerry County Council. The planning permission was then appealed to An Bord Pleanála and we are awaiting their decission. Once completed, Liam’s Lodge and its satellite lodges will be able to accommodate over 1,560 families a year.

Located on a site near Blennerville National School and the windmill, Liam’s Lodge will comprise:

• 8 three-bedroom residential units
• 14 two-bedroom units
• reception area
• 4 therapy rooms
• 2 sensory rooms
• 5 physiotherapy suites
• 3 offices with meeting rooms
• New access road
• Carparking
• Landscaped courtyards

It is envisaged that Liam’s Lodge will create 100 full-time and part-time positions, will contribute over €3.4million per annum to the local economy, and will bring thousands of people to Kerry to benefit from services not available anywhere else in Ireland.

“This fantastic project will be a sanctuary from the daily challenges of life which affect the whole family unit, particularly for those whose children have severely debilitating and life limiting conditions. Liam’s Lodge will open up space for much needed joy, hope, friendship, comfort and happy memories, and will be of enormous help to parents and children – a balm in troubled lives.”

Mary McAleese, President of Ireland 1997-2011

“To have a child with a rare or genetic disease is incredibly difficult. I am really looking forward to Liam’s Lodge becoming available for families across Ireland.”

Miriam O’Callaghan, broadcaster