Vernacular Buildings

Vernacular buildings are those designed and built by the people who live in them. They include thatched houses, traditional farm buildings and others.

A strategy for the future of Ireland’s vernacular structures was published recently by the Department of Housing, Local Government and Heritage. Click here to download.



A thatch survey was carried out in Laois in 2009 and book on the results published in 2011. Thatched buildings are increasingly rare in Laois as across Ireland and have a range of particular needs and challenges including issues of insurance, cost of thatching, sourcing thatchers and materials etc. In an effort to support owners, thatched buildings are given priority under Laois County Council’s Architectural Conservation Grants.

Download book on thatch in Laois


Vernacular Buildings

Our vernacular heritage covers a broad spectrum of building types, principally rural in purpose and setting, but it also includes buildings in towns and urban streets.  Our vernacular heritage includes houses and farmhouses, informal buildings built by and for the occupant, following local or regional patterns and using readily available materials in their construction.  Our vernacular heritage relates closely to the local environment and the associated crafts and skills have strong local and regional biases as they are the result of longstanding traditions passed down from one generation to another.

“A Living Tradition: a strategy to enhance the understanding, care and handing on of our built vernacular heritage” was launched by Minister for Heritage Malcolm Noonan in 2002. More details at the website of the Department of Housing, Local Government and Heritage.

Download A Living Tradition


Traditional Farm Buildings

Owners of traditional farm buildings may be able to access funding for conservation through the Historic Structures Fund or the Heritage Council’s Traditional Farm Building Scheme.

A case study of conservation of traditional farm buildings in Clonaslee, funded through the Heritage Council scheme, is here.

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