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Thatch Repair Grant Scheme in Donegal 27.03.20

APPLICATIONS have opened again for Donegal County Council’s Thatch Repair Grant Scheme that assists the owners and occupiers of thatched dwellings with their maintenance and repair. The grant scheme provides advice to owners on the conservation of thatched roofs, allocates funding for small-scale thatch repairs and helps homeowners carry out necessary repairs under conservation supervision. The scheme is open for applications until 12 noon on Wednesday, April 22.
Rope-thatched cottage in Ballykeeny along the Wild Atlantic Way in Inishowen was one of the properties that benefited under the Thatch Repair Grant Scheme in 2019. The scheme allows for small-scale thatch repairs.
“This is only the second year of the Thatch Repair Grant Scheme and there was a wonderful response to the introduction of the scheme last year” said Joseph Gallagher, County Donegal Heritage Officer.
“We were able to support twelve thatch repair projects across the county in 2019. While the funding provided homeowners with support to undertake their thatch projects, we learned a lot from the scheme too. We got to know some of the owners and custodians of our vernacular buildings who really are unheralded champions of our built heritage. We heard about the lack of availability of home-grown thatching materials but were also encouraged by the number of people who grew materials to thatch their own buildings. We’re very fortunate to have a small number of highly skilled thatchers in the county and some people who practice their thatching skills on a part-time basis.”
“We also heard from homeowners about the lack of appropriate and affordable insurance for thatch structures. County Donegal is home to one of the largest surviving concentrations of thatch structures in Ireland but if the insurance issue is not addressed, then the decline in the number of thatched structures seen in recent years will continue. Donegal County Council recognises the contribution that thatched dwellings and outbuildings make to our cultural landscape, employment, economy and tourism.”
Rope-thatched cottage near Clonmany that received support under the Thatch Repair Grant Scheme in 2019. Note the bed outshot (or cailleach) which is a small-projection to the rear of the building that provides a little more space to accommodate a bed near the hearth.
“Donegal County Council considers that the conservation of our traditional buildings constitutes appropriate, sustainable and responsible development,” said Collette Beattie, Conservation Officer, Donegal County Council. “Types of small-scale thatch repairs that might be eligible to Donegal County Council’s Thatch Repair Grant Scheme include repairs to the eaves, the ridge, flashings around the chimney, holes, furrows, fixings, ropes, wire netting, the gable and the roof timbers or carpentry.”
Thirty-five applications were received in 2019 under the Thatch Repair Grant Scheme and the scheme supported twelve thatch repair projects including works to residential properties, rented dwellings, outbuildings and a business. The thatch projects supported under the scheme were in Glencolmcille, Carrick, Killybegs, Altnagapple, Ardara, Maghery, Ballyharry, Ballykeeny, Clonmany, Drumkeen and Convoy.
While Donegal County Council’s Thatch Repair Grant Scheme focuses on small-scale repairs, there are other grant schemes that allow for the thatching and re-thatching of roofs. Advice on all of these grant schemes is available from the County Donegal Heritage Office and the Conservation Office of Donegal County Council and on-line at www.Donegalcoco.ie/heritage .
Applications forms for the Thatch Repair Grant Scheme are available on-line from the Donegal County Council website or by contacting Joseph Gallagher, Heritage Officer or Collette Beattie, Conservation Officer at 074 915 3900 or by e-mail at thatch@donegalcoco.ie . The scheme is open for applications until 12 noon on Wednesday, April 22.
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