Farm Building Conservation


The Heritage Council operates a Traditional Farm Building Grant Scheme for conservation of vernacular agricultural buildings. The scheme is funded by the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine  and is open to farmers who are participants in the GLAS Scheme. Details of the grant scheme and how to apply are here.

We are grateful to John and Fiona Carroll for permission to publish the story of their project to conserve farm buildings on their farm in Clonaslee, funded through the Traditional Farm Building Scheme.

Conservation of Carroll’s Farm Buildings, Clonaslee

The project included the restoration of three farmyard buildings and a stone wall. It is located on our farm in Clonaslee Co Laois, at the foothills of the Slieve Bloom mountains. The sheds were first erected we believe around 1850’s but one shed had a loft built on at a later date July 3rd 1911 which there is a date stone on it. Anna Meenan was our project manager from the heritage council and Fintan Dunne was our conservation architect. The works were mainly carried out by myself and my wife Fiona, and the help of a good family friend Jimmy who donated his time to get the project finished. All buildings were in relatively good condition, The main issues with all three sheds was the deterioration of the galvanised roofs and timbers underneath, masonry work where there was cracks and the use of lime on the stone work, parts of the timber floor in the loft had to be replaced, also removal of vegetation.

The Gallery below shows the works underway – click the thumbnails for larger photos

 

 

Our main objective was to preserve the buildings using original materials and have as little intervention as possible. Most timbers were salvageable and were treated with preservative. Timbers that were gone beyond repair were replaced. The same with the galvanise, most sheets were treated and refixed, with some that were beyond repair were replaced with second hand galvanise sheets. Sand and lime were sourced from nearby. We received great direction and advice from both Anna and Fintan. We applied for the grant in early 2020 and was short listed for same.

A conversation specification was carried out and submitted by our architect which included details of what had to be repaired and what materials/how the works should be carried out. Due to covid, most correspondence was carried out over email, and Fiona was able to document what type of works were carried out and when, she also took photos before, during (see above) and after (see below) and kept both Anna and Fintan up to date. All receipts were kept for proof of purchase of materials.

When home visits were carried out, they were in accordance with Covid 19 guidelines. All works were completed within the agreed time frame and our paperwork to confirm same was sent in by November ’20. During restoration, discovered behind some loose stones were two iron spearheads and a perforated stone which may have been used as a thatch weight. We forwarded on pictures to the National Museum of Ireland and they believe the spearheads could be a few hundred years old at least. Unfortunately due to Covid 19 and restrictions we have been unable to get them assessed properly. An interesting feature within the stone wall was an ancient dog house – there is a cavity in the wall and an entrance which was used for the dogs back then.

The Gallery below shows the completed works – click the thumbnails for larger photos

 

We would like to sincerely thank Anna Meenan (the Heritage Council), Fintan Dunne Architect for their support and Laois County Council for the opportunity to tell our story. We thoroughly enjoyed the experience and would highly recommend for others to apply for grant in which we received 75% of the costs back.

John & Fiona Carroll

 

GLAS Traditional Farm Buildings Grant Scheme

An annual grants scheme for the conservation and repair of traditional farm buildings and related structures for farmers in the Green Low-Carbon Agri-Environment Scheme (GLAS). The scheme is funded by the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine, and operated by the Heritage Council. More information available on the scheme from the Heritage Council’s website.