New lease of life for one of few remaining thatched cottages

Curry's thatch

Curry’s Thatch… one of the oldest surviving original mud cottages to be found in Northern Ireland

A COTTAGE near Derrylin said to be 300 years old, one of few in Ireland surviving in its original area, has been restored and is open to the public.

 While the team behind the restoration of the cottage at Derryhooly Road, Derrylin, Belfast-based Hearth Housing, admitted it is difficult to place an exact date on the cottage, it was ‘certainly’ there during the Great Famine (1845 – 1852) – and may have been around during the reign of George lll (1760 – 1820).


Now a ‘grade A’ listed building, it is one of just over one hundred thatched buildings of its kind.

Marcus Patton, of Hearth Housing, explained that the building was owned by Seamus Curry, who had been there since birth around 1920.

“Although it was only a three-roomed cottage – two bedrooms and the central ‘kitchen’ or living room – Seamus had been one of six children living there, in a house without running water and heated only by its turf fire.

With assistance from the Heritage Lottery Fund, Hearth was able to repair the building and build an ‘annex’ alongside it to provide the modern facilities of kitchen and bathroom without changing the character of the historic building.

“Seamus died about five years ago, and the annex is now available as a one-bed holiday cottage, ideal for visiting fishermen or couples wanting a peaceful weekend in rural Fermanagh.”

However, the thatched cottage does not meet Tourist Board requirements and Hearth was puzzled about finding a new use for it.

And, after having completed work, through the Northern Ireland Environment Agency (NIEA) Challenge Fund, the cottage is now open to the public – and had an open day on Wednesday past.


Marcus went on: “This will enable groups like schoolchildren, traditional musicians and storytellers to use the cottage and enjoy the now very unusual experience of sitting round a turf fire in a mud cottage under a thatched roof.

“Starting with re-thatching at the end of last year the work has gone on for about six months and Hearth is now keen to hear from individuals or groups who are interested in staying in the annex or using the cottage, either for regular sessions or one-off visits.”

Hearth can be contacted via Siobhan Brown at or

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The Fermanagh Herald is published by North West of Ireland Printing & Publishing Company Limited, trading as North-West News Group.
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