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Thatching Cottages in Ireland

On the night of January 10th this year a severe storm battered the northwest coast of Ireland, powering winds of up to 100 miles per hour. The next morning when Conor Ward, proprietor of Donegal Thatched Cottages, surveyed his ten traditional thatched holiday cottages he was pleasantly relieved to find that the damage had been confined to the ridge of cottage no. 10, from the chimney to the barge……..a total of less than fourteen feet in length. Although the ridge had served as little more than an ornamental cap at the apex of the roof it now looked unkempt and needed to be repaired as a matter of urgency. The problem was where would he find a thatcher with the skills necessary for this highly specialised ancient craft ?

Conor had recourse to his local Yellow Pages under “thatchers”. When he dialled the number of the master thatcher he was surprised to be patched through to Northumberland in England where the master thatcher , from his perch on top of a local thatched roof, promised to deal with the matter before the end of the month.

When the thatcher arrived later that month to do the job it turned out that he was not from England after all. In fact he could hardly speak a word of English. He was from Poland ! It emerged after much sign language that he had been sub-contracted by the master thatcher in England to carry out thatching work in Ireland although he himself was mostly based in Poland ! To cap it all, the reeds for the thatching job had been imported from Turkey ! When Conor got his invoice, based on £80 sterling per linear foot he began to realise how all this made sound economic sense. A far cry from the old days when a few neighbours would get together, pull local “bent grass” and thatch an entire cottage in a few days for little more than the price of a pint of Guinness. The ancient craft of thatching has finally come of age.

Dara Ward is a family member of Cottages in Ireland a development of 10 traditional Thatched Cottages in the beautiful area of Cruit Island in North West Donegal Ireland. These Cottages in Donegal are rented as vacation rentals and offer a holiday with a real difference.