Current State

This little old lady was last thatched and repaired with great effort by the owner, Helen Kealy-Dunne and her husband, Ambrose Dunne in 2004, in which the condition of the cottage was perhaps the best it has ever been. However, due to Helen’s ill health, the cottage has fallen into disrepair since thatched cottages are one of the most demanding architectural buildings to maintain in comparison to a tiled roof. Thatched cottages deteriorate fast if not regularly kept, especially in Ireland’s damp climate.

Several areas of the roof have currently caved in and the wood has started to rot as a result of harsh weather conditions. The interior is also being spoilt by leaks and staining from the roof. The thatch on the roof has deteriorated badly to the point where only tarpaulins are keeping the weather out — highlighting the roof’s urgent need for replacement. Internally, the roof timbers are cracking and the roof is in danger of collapse. The proposed works will save the house by replacing the old thatch on the roof, making it weatherproof for years to come.

This house is a time machine into Ireland’s coal mining heritage, and its upkeep is of cultural, historical, and sentimental importance not only to the family but to the Clogh community, Irish natives, and visitors from abroad. This cottage preserves the evidence of a way of life that has disappeared from modern Irish society. It is a simple, vernacular dwelling that could once be found the length and breadth of Ireland.

What We Need

We are relying on the generosity of others with donations to fund the restoration of this iconic thatched house — one of Europe’s oldest coal mining cottages still standing today — since the maintenance of a thatched roof is generally the most costly of roofing jobs.

In order to revive this old lady, we have launched a GoFundMe page with a goal of €25,000. The owner is eager to save the house as it is of great significance to the whole family.

Our Plan

The plan for this restoration project is to strip the weathered layer of thatch and re-thatch the roof with Irish oaten straw — thatching material made from the stems and leaves of the oat straw which are harvested early while the grass is still green. As well as this, we aim to carry out repairs to the underlying timber structure as necessary.

Traditional craft skills will be utilised when carrying out the appropriate handiwork for this cottage in order to not modernise the building in any way.

The overall goal will be the faithful repair or replacement of what exists or did exist while maintaining good conservation practice. The cottage will be repaired with the materials that reflect the original materials of the house where at all possible.

We will also whitewash the interior and exterior walls which is the process of covering a wall with a very thin coat of plaster made with water, lime, and other ingredients such as horsehair which are used to bind the mix together. These original materials as well as the process in which it’s done will complement the original qualities and aesthetics of the house. Thatched cottages with whitewashed walls are an iconic symbol of traditional Ireland that date back to old crannóg (young tree), one-roomed cottages that housed labourers and their families.

Finally, the iconic red half-door which has been a key feature of the house for anyone driving past, as well as a tradition carried out by the owning family, will be repainted with a fresh, new coat.

Ultimately, the owner, Helen, and her family would like to return this old lady to her former beauty, adding more character to the already charismatic village of Clogh in which the house is located.

Image Gallery

These images show how far this once beautiful piece of history has fallen

Get in touch

We would love to hear from you. If you would like to contact us, please email