Magilligan couple ‘heartbroken’ at damage to 300-year-old thatched cottage

Damage inside the cottage.

Damage inside the cottage.

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The owners of a 300-year-old Grade B listed thatched building in Magilligan are “heartbroken” their family home for four generations has been seriously damaged by recent storms.

The owners of a 300-year-old Grade B listed thatched building in Magilligan are “heartbroken” their family home for four generations has been seriously damaged by recent storms.

Damage to the thatched roof.

Damage to the thatched roof.

Part of the roof at the rear of the Seacoast Road cottage collapsed, causing significant structural damage. A tarpaulin cover has been placed over the hole in the roof.

The elderly couple have lived in the cottage all their lives, and run a small holding adjacent to the cottage. A family member said: “We are absolutely heartbroken at the storm damage to the family home. This could not have happened at a worse time because over recent months we have been working with the Northern Ireland Environment and Heritage Service (NIEA) and the Ulster Architectural Heritage Society to restore and preserve the cottage.”

The family member said they had been confident of securing funding from NIEA’s Historic Buildings grant scheme, but that is now uncertain. They said they will urge the Department “to treat this as an exceptional case and allocate emergency funds.

A DOE spokesperson said: “The department is aware of this building and officials are actively working with the owner and other departments to explore all potential routes to secure a future for this important building.

“However, the Department will be required to operate within significantly reduced resources during the incoming financial year (which starts on 1 April). The Minister of the Environment and the Department had highlighted in the published Consultation on the draft Budget that if the proposed financial allocations to the Department were to be confirmed then it would result in the termination of a wide range of grant and other support programmes aimed at supporting key environmental and built heritage programmes. Unfortunately this means that the Department is unable to specify a date by which funding to support many historic building schemes will be available. This position will of course be kept under review as the year progresses.”