Is this the most important job I’ll work on? #Restoration #Lighthouse #Cottage

The work of an architect is an interesting one. From large to small practice. From public to private sector. From residential to commercial.

And then there’s restoration.:

The work of the conservation architect may involve building nothing. Just to bring a building back (without any conjecture) to what it once was.

And this is what we’re doing at Ballyglass Light housekeeper’s cottage. Bringing back to life a building that was in ruins and nearly lost completely. So this is why, maybe this could be the most important project that I’ll work on.

There’s no extension to building but the work we’re undertaking needs to be meticulous and includes (not exhaustive) the following:

  • Ensuring colour, material and size of slates
  • Ensuring colour, material and size of ridge slate
  • Ensuring windows are repaired in correct way rather than replaced
  • Ensuring any parts (such as the rooflights) that are on the site but are in ruins are restored rather than replaced
  • Ensuring correct way to repair the plaster on the walls with lath/plaster etc…
  • Ensuring correct materials for finishes such as naturally hydrated lime for render rather than Portland based cement
  • Ensuring correct size, material and profile on all timberwork and ensuring that repairs are undertaken with a conservation led approach
    …the list is endless

    You can read about a previous blogpost HERE

    The project is also starting to get interest elsewhere, here’s a blog post from Peter Goulding who runs a blog on Irish Light Houses:

    Below are a few photos of where we’re currently at; main roof back on and two side roofs well underway. Windows and internal work next:

    Ensuring ridge slate is correct – this one is too small

    Signage up

    Roof on main building front complete

    Roof on main building front complete

    And again:

    A special thanks to the research undertaken by Juma Watson which has really helped the historical analysis.

    And a big thank you to Jonathan Sweeney Carpentry for making this happen.


    What’s really interesting is that I meet a lot of people that want to undertake projects of this type and they say ‘we want to do the right thing’ but when push comes to shove the right thing takes a lot of effort and can get lost along the way – a special thanks again to the clients, the builder and Mayo County Council who are (along with me), really doing our best to do the right thing – no matter how hard and difficult.

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