Irish Georgian Society

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The vision of the Irish Georgian Society is to conserve, protect and foster a keen interest and a respect for Ireland’s architectural heritage and decorative arts. These aims are achieved through its scholarly and conservation education programmes, through its support of conservation projects and planning issues, and vitally, through its members and their activities.

Conservation project update: Thatched Cottage, Lenankeel, Inishowen, Co. Donegal


Posted by IGS


Rotted thatch removed to allow access

Note the earth mortar

Collapsing chimney stack stabilised 

Starting consolidation and rebuilding of wall heads and reconstruction of roof structure using salvaged members & new based on existing salvage material

Fidelma Mullane, conservation consultant (thatch) examine thatch materials

Split laths & súgan rope ties

Broken stone lintel

Completion of trusses & purlins

Sample laid out to discuss detail with thatcher Brian Lafferty

Split timbers fitted; scraws laid as thatching progresses

Thatcher Brian Lafferty

Metal rods & wires are used for the underlayer as a substitute for hazel pins which are no longer available locally; otherwise the technique is exactly as practised locally for generations

Fidelma Mullane reviews details with Brian; John Doherty lays scraws and a batten to support the thatcher’s ladder in advance of laying a coarse coat of thatch

The interior wall was rebuilt in 1950’s when the byre was converted

About the project
Built c. 1780 and reputedly occupied by generations of the same family since that time until 2007, the Thatched Cottage, Lenankeel, Co. Donegal is of significant importance for its early date and also as it relates to a surviving group of vernacular structures that form part of a clachan settlement, though this is the last of the houses to retain its thatched roof.  In surveying the house some years ago, the NIAH noted the need for a full record of the structure including its surviving interior features and its rope and stone peg thatch, which it was feared could very soon disappear.  Though in poor condition, it is very encouraging that the current owner has taking on the admirable task of restoring this gem of a building. In 2015, IGS grant aided a Conservation Report by Dedalus Architecture to prioritise a programme of works for the conservation of the house and to secure its outbuildings.

Next steps
The next step for the project is to make the roofed house habitable and to complete the building envelope repairs.

Family photos of the cottage can be seen on the Buildings of Ireland website, where it was featured as Building of the Month for September 2015. Click here to read the article.