Thatched homes under threat

A lack of materials, thatchers, and prohibitively high insurance costs are preventing homeowners in Donegal to maintain their thatched properties.

Donegal County Council’s heritage officer, Joseph Gallagher told RTÉ some homeowners even grow their own materials to thatch their buildings.

“It’s surprising”, he said, “that over a decade after the publication of the All-Ireland Traditional Building Craft Skills report by the National Heritage Training Group that highlighted the dearth in availability of traditional building skills, that little has been done to address the traditional building skills shortage”.

“The lack of insurance companies in the Republic of Ireland willing to provide quotes for historic thatch and the inability to get affordable insurance in some instances means that new generations of possible owners cannot live under thatch because insurance is required in order to take out a mortgage,” he added.

“Insurance companies in Northern Ireland, Britain and many other European countries seem better informed about historic thatch structures and can provide appropriate and more affordable insurance cover. It’s not clear why the situation in the Republic of Ireland is more prohibitive.”

What do you think?

Written by Astrid Madsen

Astrid Madsen is the editor of SelfBuild & Improve Your Home magazine. She previously held the same role in an Irish trade publication, before that she worked at the National Standards Authority of Ireland. She graduated with a BA in Urban Studies from Columbia University in New York and holds an MBA from the Instituto de Estudios Bursatiles in Madrid. France of origin, she now lives in Portarlington, County Laois, where she's taken on the task of renovating a listed building! Email astrid.madsen@selfbuild.ie

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