County Offaly: Vernacular Architecture

The vernacular architecture of Offaly is perhaps best exemplified by the county's stock of thatched buildings. Both of the principal vernacular house types can be seen. Lobby-entry houses have a small lobby formed by a screen wall protecting the kitchen hearth from the front door and direct-entry houses have their hearth and door at opposite ends of the kitchen. Direct-entry houses are more numerous in the west of the county, and hipped roofs tend to be found to the east of Tullamore. Thatching techniques also change from scolloped thatching to thrust thatching as one travels eastwards. Vernacular buildings are difficult to date but surviving examples appear to date mainly to between 1750 and 1850. The majority of houses are single storey and rural. Formerly, long rows of small thatched houses were common in the towns of Offaly but these have now been replaced by newer housing. Older vernacular roofs are notable for their timbering of tree boughs, branches and twigs. Rubble stone is used to form the walls of most of the vernacular buildings, although clay ('mud') walling gets more prevalent as one travels eastwards.

GALROS, Cloghan, County Offaly

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Detached four-bay single-storey thatched house, built c.1800. Pitched oaten straw roof with decorative knotting and exposed scolloping to ridge and twine to eaves. Low rendered chimneystacks. Pebbledashed stone walls. Replacement uPVC windows. Timber battened door and half door. Single-bay extension to rear with concrete walls and pitched tiled roof. Yard to front and stone-walled and…


Ballydownan Cottage, BALLYDOWNAN, Geashill, County Offaly

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Detached five-bay two-pile single-storey thatched house, built c.1875, with lobby-entry plan. Pitched oaten straw roof with exposed scolloping to ridges and wire to eaves. Rendered chimneystacks. Pebbledashed walls. Canted bay with thatched canopy to road gable, square-headed timber casement windows elsewhere. Windbreak with gabled oaten straw roof and having timber battened door. Second pile may…


Dan and Molly's, BALLYBOY (BA. BY.), Ballyboy, County Offaly

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Detached six-bay single-storey thatched public house at corner location in village, built c.1800. Pitched oaten straw roof with wide overhang and decorative knotting and exposed scolloping to ridge and twine to eaves. Rendered chimneystack. Rendered stone walls. Timber sash windows. Timber panelled doors. Painted sign at eaves. Yard of outbuildings to rear.


COOLCOR, County Offaly

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Detached five-bay single-storey thatched house, built c.1800, with direct-entry plan. Hipped oaten straw roof with decorative knotting, end bobbins and plastic conduit to ridge and hips and plastic conduit to eaves. Low rendered chimneystack. Roughcast rendered walls. Replacement uPVC windows and door. Extension at rear with flat felt roof. Garden to front, having hedge and…


KILLAGHINTOBER, County Offaly

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Detached four-bay single-storey thatched house, built c.1800, with direct-entry plan. Pitched scolloped reed roof over oaten straw having lines of scalloping and knotted ropework to the ridge. Low rendered chimneystacks. Rendered stone walls. Replacement uPVC windows and replacement timber battened door. Two-bay flat-roofed extension added to rear in mid-twentieth century. Sited at end of long…


BALLYBRUNCULLIN, County Offaly

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Detached four-bay single-storey thatched house, built c.1800, with direct-entry plan but having screen wall to one side of entrance internally. Pitched oaten straw roof with exposed scolloping to ridge and twine to eaves. Low rendered chimneystacks. Rendered stone walls. Small openings with replacement uPVC windows and having two small windows, one at each end of…


BRACKLIN LITTLE, County Offaly

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Detached four-bay single-storey thatched house, built c.1800, with lobby-entry plan. Eastern bay is later addition and has tiled roof and replacement uPVC windows. Rendered stone walls having smooth rendered plinth. Pitched oaten straw roof to original part. Low rendered chimneystacks. Timber sash windows and glazed timber door. Sited at end of short avenue close to…


AGHNANANAGH, County Offaly

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Detached four-bay single-storey thatched house, built c.1800, with direct-entry plan. Formerly had attic over east end and has extension to rear with rendered walls and pitched slate roof. Pitched rye straw roof with decorative scolloping to slightly raised ridge and chimney. Low rendered chimneystack. Rendered stone walls. Timber sash windows. Porch with pitched slate roof…


BALLYDROHID, County Offaly

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Detached five-bay single-storey with attic thatched house, built c.1800, with lobby-entry plan and now partly roofless. Two-bay single-storey addition to rear with rendered walls and lean-to slated roof and adjoining outbuilding with pitched slate roof also to rear. Pitched oaten straw roof with dressed limestone barges and kneelers and having rendered and brick chimneystacks. Small…


CLONCON, County Offaly

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Four-bay single-storey thatched house, built c.1800, with direct-entry plan. Pitched (north end) and hipped (south end) oaten straw roof with decorative knotting to ridge and exposed scolloping to ridge and eaves. Rendered brick chimneystacks. Limewashed lime-plastered clay walls. Small-pane timber sash windows, one to front having iron bars. Timber battened door and sheet half-door. Traditional…


CAPPANCUR, County Offaly

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Detached four-bay single-storey thatched house, built c.1800, with lobby-entry plan. Pitched oaten straw roof with decorative knotting and exposed scolloping to ridge and twine to eaves. Low rendered chimneystack. Rendered stone walls. Former outbuilding with stone walls and pitched slate roof incorporated into house to form L-plan. Large extension to full length of rear of…


BALLYDUFF SOUTH, County Offaly

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Detached two-bay single-storey thatched outbuilding, built c.1949-50, used as hen house and shed. Hipped oaten straw roof with exposed scolloping to ridge. Walls of timber sleepers and round and split timber posts with painted timber plank and corrugated iron cladding. Timber battened doors in south gable and timber battened half-door in front wall. Roof structure…


BALLYDUFF SOUTH, County Offaly

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Detached three-bay single-storey thatched former house, built c.1875, now in use as outbuilding. Hipped oaten straw roof with exposed scolloping to ridge and eaves. No chimney survives. Limewashed and lime plastered clay and stone walls. Timber battened door and double doors in front wall and later wide opening in west gable. Windows blocked up. Sited…


BALLYDUFF SOUTH, County Offaly

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Detached one-bay single-storey thatched outbuilding, built c.1875, used as hay barn and shed. Hipped oaten straw roof with exposed scolloping to ridge. Limewashed and lime plastered clay walls. Timber battened door in front wall. Pivoted steel window to rear. Recessed outbuilding attached to east end having concrete walls and lean-to corrugated iron roof. Sited in…


BALLYDUFF SOUTH, County Offaly

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Detached four-bay single-storey thatched outbuilding, built c.1800 and extended eastwards c.1875, in use as hay barn, hen house and calf shed. Hipped oaten straw roof with ridge bobbins and exposed scolloping to ridge. Limewashed and lime plastered clay walls. Timber battened door and two doorless openings in front wall. Small unglazed window in rear wall.…


CLONAVOE, County Offaly

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Detached four-bay single-storey thatched house, built c.1800, with direct-entry plan. Extension to rear with flat felt roof. Hipped oaten straw roof with decorative knotted ridge with end bobbins and exposed scolloping to ridge and eaves. Rendered concrete chimneystack. Pebbledashed clay walls. Square-headed timber sash windows. Replacement timber and glazed door.


BROUGHAL, County Offaly

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Detached four-bay single-storey thatched farmhouse with further one-bay integral outbuilding under same roof, built c.1800, with direct-entry plan. Pitched oaten straw roof, having low rendered chimneystacks. Stone walls, roughcast rendered to front and limewashed and having two stone buttresses to rear. Small openings with timber sash windows. No rear windows. Timber battened door and half-door.…


HAWKSWOOD, County Offaly

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Detached four-bay single-storey thatched house, built c.1800, with direct-entry plan. Pitched oaten straw roof with lines of scolloping and bobbins to ridge and having twine to eaves. Rendered chimneystacks. Pebbledashed stone walls. Square-headed timber sash windows. Porch with flat concrete roof, timber sash windows and timber battened door. Single-bay extension to rear with pitched tiled…


DERRYBEG (BB. BY.), County Offaly

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Detached five-bay single-storey thatched house, built c.1800, with direct-entry plan and having projecting entrance bay with concrete walls and hipped thatched roof. Hipped oaten straw roof with decorative knotting and exposed scolloping to ridge and having low rendered chimneystack. Rendered clay walls. Small openings with steel pivoted windows. Replacement uPVC door. Yard to front of…


KILLURIN, County Offaly

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Detached three-bay single-storey thatched house, built c.1800, with lobby-entry plan. Hipped oaten straw roof with decorative knotting and exposed scolloping to ridge and twine to eaves. Low rendered chimneystack. Lime-washed and lime-plastered stone walls. Pivoted steel windows, having no windows in rear wall. Timber battened door and half-door. Siting at roadside with grassed area to…