The programme of conservation work began in Mayglass in the Spring of 1998 and has continued up to the present time. The project has attempted to adhere to the highest standards of conservation, with minimum intervention, repairing rather than replacing, and where interventions were necessary, they are all fully reversible.

Work was carried out in various stages:

Protection of house

Conservation of furniture and artefacts

Wall repairs and re-building

Thatching of roofs

Internal repairs and environmental monitoring

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Beams used to support roof internally.

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Timber used to support back wall of house.

Following advice from the National Museum the house interior and contents were catalogued, furniture and artefacts removed, and conservators appointed to repair them. These objects have now been conserved and are in storage.

Much of the original wallpaper in the parlour was expertly cleaned, repaired and re-attached where necessary.

 

 

 

 

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Kitchen (Feb. 2001) with some of original artefacts replaced

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The parlour prior to conservation

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Detail of statue as found in thatch

The chimney was strengthened and rebuilt, while the mud walls and lime render were repaired. The outbuildings, unfortunately, were in much worse condition than the house and substantial rebuilding had to be carried out.

The walls of the house are made from mud (daub). This was traditionally used as building material as it is inexpensive and readily available in large quantities.

The fabrication of mud bricks was necessary to patch up parts of the walls that had fallen into decay.
Mud for this purpose was obtained locally and mixed with a small amount of straw. The mixture was then placed into wooden moulds for one day, after which time they were removed and laid out to dry. Drying took from about three weeks in Summer to up to two months in Autumn.

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Repairs to walls of farmhouse

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Mud bricks left to dry in moulds

The top layer of thatch on dwelling house was rethatched using the original 'fletch' technique. This method of thatching is traditional to Wexford where it is called 'pinning', but is however no longer commonly practised.

Relatively short oaten straw needed for the thatch was sourced locally. Using the fletch method, bundles of straw are knotted at one end and wedged tightly together using a special tool.

The roof timbers and thatch of the outbuildings had to be replaced completely. True to the original structure, these were thatched with longer wheaten straw and hazel spars were used to hold bundles in place.

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Thatcher Jim Burke at work (Jan. 2001).

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Insertion of 'fletches' into thatch

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The finished roof (Feb. 2001)

Floors, windows, and fitted joinery were repaired as necessary.

The School of Architecture, UCD, put a system of environmental monitoring in place at Mayglass. The data obtained will be invaluable in establishing the behaviour of this and similar structures over time.

 

 

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Repair of floorboards

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Box bed in upstairs bedroom