Inishowen’s cottage heritage

A traditional cottage in Culdaff.
A traditional cottage in Culdaff.

Inishowen’s traditional cottages are set to be highlighted in an illustrated presentation in Letterkenny next week.

County Donegal has one of the greatest concentrations of traditional cottages in Ireland and many of them are in Inishowen.

Greg Stevenson and Joseph Gallagher.

Greg Stevenson and Joseph Gallagher.

As part of National Heritage Week, the Donegal County Museum, Letterkenny will host an illustrated presentation this Monday, August 25th at 7.30pm entitled ‘Traditional Homes in the County Donegal Landscape’.

The presentation will be hosted by Greg Stevenson and Joseph Gallagher, the authors of the ‘Traditional Cottages of County Donegal’ book.

The presentation will highlight common types of cottages in County Donegal and identify specific vernacular architecture features.

It will also show how these buildings blend into the county’s cultural and physical landscapes, highlight the decline in County Donegal’s vernacular architecture in recent years and identify opportunities for the conservation of traditional cottages. The presentation is open to the public and everyone is welcome to attend.

Greg Stevenson described County Donegal’s vernacular architecture as “remarkable.”

He added: “These traditional cottages evoke a sense of place and demonstrate the understanding and connection that people had with the landscape they inhabited.

“These vernacular buildings have stood the test of time and are durable enough to meet the demands of a modern household, but they require care and imagination.

Mr. Stevenson described as “surprising” the fact that the opportunities the cottages present for our tourist industry and for the employment of skilled craftsmen have not been seized.

He said this was despite several national studies highlighting their importance.

“Many owners of these traditional cottages who have conserved their buildings are beginning to see the benefits of their investment as well as saving a part of their family’s and the county’s built heritage that is uniquely and unmistakably Donegal.”

Dr. Greg Stevenson is the founder and owner of Under the Thatch, a social enterprise company based in Wales that rescues and restores traditional buildings at risk.

Once restored, these buildings are leased as holiday accommodation which has proven popular.

He is the author of several publications including ‘The 1930s Home’, ‘Palaces for the People: prefabs in post-war Britain’, ‘Welsh Homes’ (with Gwenda Griffith) and ‘Introducing Houses of the Welsh Countryside’ (with Richard Sugget). Greg is best known in Wales as the architectural historian on the television series ‘The Welsh House’ and ‘The Welsh Town’, and in England he was series consultant for BBC Restoration.

His co-author on the ‘Traditional Cottages of County Donegal’ book is Joseph Gallagher, County Donegal Heritage Officer.

Signed copies of the book will be available on the evening at a special price.

If you would like further details, contact the Donegal County Museum, High Road, Letterkenny on (074) 912 4613.