'Discovery: Open to the Skies' is a documentary film looking at ruins of old houses, churches and monuments around Ireland and the difficulties of maintenance and restoration.

'Open to the Skies' refers directly to the fact that many of these old buildings are roofless.

They're everywhere in Ireland - the gaping, roofless ruins. Silent witnesses to the best and worst of a nation's tangled history

This extract from the programme shows Moore Hall in county Mayo, built in 1792 and home to the Moore family. The house was destroyed in 1923 during the civil war. 

Armed men set it ablaze by night and all was destroyed

Not all great houses were so unlucky with many surviving to this day. One example is that of Westport House, the home of the 10th Marquess of Sligo and his son Lord Altamont. As costs of keeping the house rose, the family decided to open the house to the public in 1960 as a means of financing its maintenance. According to Lord Altamont

If Westport House was to survive it would have to be commercialised in some way

The house and grounds the have been developed to offer tourists boating and fishing on the lake, a tea room, and a souvenir shop. The hope now is to offer families a place to come to spend an enjoyable afternoon, rather than visiting a museum filled with antiques.

This episode of 'Discovery' was produced by Peter Kennerley, written by Patrick Gallagher and narrated by Chris Curran. The programme was broadcast on 16 May 1966.