Laois buildings saved from neglect

Farm buildings, located in Srahan, Camross, Co. Laois, which had slowly to rapidly deteriorated over the past 30 years, were saved from abandonment under the Traditional Farm Building Grant program GLAS.

“Both buildings are made of stone. One was originally a stable and an attic and the other has been used for a number of things over the years including storage of horse tackle and cart and as a stable for cattle and cattle. sheep later, ”said Ray Cuddy, a part-time sheep farmer.

“They had reached the stage where they were no longer of any practical use and were heading towards complete abandonment.

“The buildings are located in front of the ruins of Srahan Castle, a tower house built in the 1600s. It is very visible during the ascent of Arderin and the local site of Fraochán Sunday,” he said. he declares.

“Part of the roof of the planned building had collapsed on itself and destroyed the attic below. As a result, only a small amount of wood could be reused. We were however able to recover a good part of the slates to reuse them.

“The wall of the other building had to collapse for structural and safety reasons. It was however rebuilt with the exact same stone and natural hydraulic lime mortar.

“We left the corrugated iron sheets on the roof of this building and repaired the timber below. This is in accordance with the ethics of the Heritage Council; renew and repair rather than replace, ”he said.

As part of the program, a survey of bats and birds was required.

“This was done by Gerry Tobin and as a result, the presence of cave dwellers was detected in one building and bats in the second building,” continued Ray.

“This habitat for bats has now hopefully been improved by the works, and bats and other birds / wildlife are certainly welcome in the repaired structures.

“Opening the louvered window will allow that while also providing ventilation. “

The project was overseen by Fintan Dunne as a conservation consultant and local stonemasons and carpenters were employed to complete the restoration.

Time was the biggest obstacle, according to Ray.

“Work could not begin on the building that housed bats until after November 1 and given the time of year, the weather and the deterioration of the buildings, it was difficult to complete it. in a short period of time, “he recalled.

Camross buildings

“With the buildings now restored, I will be able to use them for the next lambing season,” said Ray.

“My ewes have a natural tendency to lamb in the sheltered area of ​​the trees around the old farmyard. Now, I can bring them to these houses while they are agin to have them in the first crucial days.

“The attic will also be very suitable for storing animal feed,” he said.

Ray acknowledged that none of this repair work would be possible without the support and funding of the Heritage Council and the Department of Agriculture, Food and Marine.

He said he was delighted that the buildings were saved from abandonment.

“On a personal note these buildings hold great sentimental value to me as I was a farmer here as a child with my father and I am very grateful to the Heritage Council for giving me the opportunity to restore them. », He concluded.

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Paul Cox

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