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 Formerly, long rows of small thatched houses were common in the towns of Offaly but these have now been replaced by newer housing.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.

KILLEENMORE, County Offaly

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Detached six-bay single-storey thatched farmhouse with attic, built c.1800, with lobby-entry plan. Pitched oaten straw roof. Rendered concrete and brick chimneystacks. Pebbledashed stone walls. Square-headed timber double casement windows. Timber battened door in two-bay porch and extension with lean-to corrugated asbestos roof. Southernmost bay used as outbuilding. Extensive farmyard of pitched roofed outbuildings with rendered…


SRANURE, County Offaly

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Detached three-bay single-storey thatched farmhouse, built c.1800, with lobby-entry plan. Pitched oaten straw roof with decorative knotwork and lines of scolloping to ridge and W end and twine to eaves. Low rendered chimneystack. Roughcast rendered walls. Timber sash windows. No windows to rear wall. Porch with flat concrete roof with timber panelled door and timber…


KILLELLERY, County Offaly

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Detached six-bay single-storey thatched house, built c.1800, with lobby-entry plan. Hipped oaten straw roof. Low rendered chimneystacks. Lime-washed lime-plastered clay walls. Pivoted steel windows to front and timber sash to rear. Windbreak with lean-to corrugated iron canopy having replacement timber battened door. Garden to front with rendered wall, piers and cast-iron gate to road boundary.…


BALLYDOWNAN, County Offaly

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Detached four-bay single-storey thatched house, built c.1800, with direct-entry plan. Hipped oaten straw roof with twine to eaves and having low rendered chimneystack. Limewashed lime-plastered clay walls, having heavy stone buttresses to rear wall and brick south gable wall. Timber pivoted windows and timber battened door. Slightly-recessed southern bay is extension. Small outbuilding with lean-to…


BALLAGHANOHER, County Offaly

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Detached two-bay single-storey thatched house, built c.1800, with direct-entry plan and having thatched single-bay return to centre of rear wall. Pitched oaten straw roof with rendered chimneystack. Rendered stone walls. Timber sash and replacement timber windows. Porch with flat concrete roof and replacement timber windows and glazed timber with sidelights. Lawn between house and road.…


DERRINDUFF, County Offaly

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Detached six-bay single-storey thatched house, built c.1800. Formerly four-bay with two-bay outbuilding attached, later incorporated into house. Pitched reed roof with raised ridge with decorative scalloping and having low rendered chimneystack. Roughcast rendered stone walls with smooth rendered plinth and margins to elevations. Timber sash windows. Windbreak with flat concrete canopy and replacement timber door.…


RATHURE SOUTH, 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 lines of scalloping to ridge and having low rendered chimneystacks. Lime-washed (front) and exposed (rear) stone walls. Small-pane timber sash windows and timber vertically-divided folding battened door. Retaining traditional interior. Yard to front with rendered wall and with hedge to…


BALLYEGAN, County Offaly

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Detached five-bay single-storey thatched farmhouse, built c.1800, with lobby-entry plan. Pitched oaten straw roof with exposed scolloping to ridge and having rendered chimneystacks. Limewashed lime-plastered walls with heavy stone buttress to north-east corner. Timber sash windows. Shallow windbreak sheltered under thatch with timber panelled door. Extension to rear with pitched slated roof and concrete walls…