Vernacular Architecture

Go back before the Celtic Tiger, the economic miracle that ravaged Ireland from 1995-2007. Keep going. Back beyond the 1980’s recession, back before the 1960’s economic expansion. Around here, you’ll find the dying traces of a time before developers built houses, a 9000-year-old tradition where knowledge of house building was, by and large, passed from generation to generation, and where house styles and fashions were dictated more or less by popular tradition.

Vernacular architecture recognises three distinct divisions: domestic, agricultural, and industrial buildings. Only domestic buildings will be explored here.

Farmhouses, shops, inns, houses in village, small huts, and little cottages all formed part of this tradition. For the majority of the country, small cottages were the most likely form of private dwelling.

“The unsophisticated builder... must carefully consider his social and economic status,”

Folklore scholar Kevin Danaher (1975)

“In a very conservative and class-conscious society he must, in his building activities, maintain his position, keep up appearances without over-reaching himself either in ostentation or expenditure. Thus his house and offices must reflect his standing in the community. A strong farmer might not live in a cabin, nor a poor labourer try to build himself a mansion, without earning the scorn, the reproaches, even the active hostility of his neighbours.”

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