ONE of the more unique buildings hidden in the Fermanagh countryside is the Darjeeling Bungalow, situated in the townland of Woaghternerry near Coa.

Christopher Wilson (81), a former head teacher of Greystone Hall Special school in Limavady and former Methodist Church chaplin to Altnagelvin hospital, shared his memories of this unique building with The Impartial Reporter.

The bungalow was built for Christopher’s grandmother, Sarah, by her eldest son, William, who had ran a timber firm in Dublin that manufactured bungalows in kit form and dispatched them across the British Empire, including to India to the city of Darjeeling, which the bungalow is named after.

These bungalow kits were primarily used as residences for the British administrators.

Sarah’s sons requested that a bungalow be sent to Fermanagh for her to live in her retirement from the family farm.

The home that was previously destined for Darjeeling was boxed up into six large crates and travelled up to Enniskillen Great Northern Railway station, where it was met by six horses and a flat wagon to be pulled to its present site.

Sarah, her son, Eddie, and daughter, Elizabeth, and their house-keeper, Ellie lived in the house for many years.

By the 1970s only Eddie and Ellie still lived in the bungalow and they decided to sell it to a local family. The house was occupied until last year when its latest owner died.

Now, the site has been sold on and become derelict, and is earmarked for demolition.

Christopher proudly describes himself as a “half-Fermanagh man” and has many childhood memories from his time spent in the county.

He recalled being evacuated from Belfast by his family during the Belfast Blitz in 1941 to the “safe-haven” in Watterneery.

Christopher said: “We left Belfast on the train to get away from it all. I remember passing through Omagh, a Bundoran junction in Irvinestown that was 30 miles away from the real Bundoran, and Ballinamallard, and then on to Enniskillen where we were picked up at the station by a taxi man who discussed that week’s deaths in Enniskillen as we drove to the house.”

He was “very sad” when he returned to visit the home a few weeks ago and saw it in a dilapidated condition. He said, quietly: “I went into the house and my foot slipped through the floor.”

However, he still carries fond memories of the bungalow: “ We spent a week every July in the house in the late 1940s and early 1950s. I remember in the evenings I sat in a corner of the large kitchen listening to the hiss of the oil lamps, and the soft Fermanagh accents of Uncle Eddie’s neighbours discussing the news of the day.

"When it was my bedtime, I went to sleep with the sound of the corncrake and the sweet smell of newly-mown hay.

"When I was in Fermanagh staying in a hotel, I went back to see my old friend - the Darjeeling Bungalow - to say farewell and to search for the friendly ghosts of yesteryears far gone.”