The Heritage Council is funding the refurbishment of the thatched mud - walled farm complex at Mayglass, south Co. Wexford. The house, outbuildings and contents form what is considered to be one of the most important vernacular farmsteads in the country.

The house was built in a number of phases from the early 1700's to the late 1800's, but has remained largely unchanged since then. Lived in by Seamus Kirwan until the mid 1990's, it contains a fascinating collection of Irish country furniture, together with his family's farm and household effects dating from the 18th to the late 20th centuries. Mayglass-2000 is one of the most significant conservation projects ever carried out by The Heritage Council. Conservation work on the buildings and site has been ongoing since 1998, it is probably the only such project of this kind in Ireland.

The farmhouse prior to conservation work.

The kitchen viewed from upstairs

The last inhabitant, the late Seamus Kirwan

The farmstead was substantial in its time, consisting of a two storey mud - walled thatched house, and several outbuildings.

Unlike most other places of its kind, Mayglass was never modernised - no bathroom, running water or electricity. The last inhabitant, who died in 1995, lived a simple life, using the tools and artefacts he had inherited, mending and patching when needed. The result is a house with many of its 18th and 19th century furniture and fittings still there,added to only when necessary, leaving a unique legacy virtually untouched. After the death of the owner, the farm was left to a neighbour who had looked after him in his later years. The new owner continued to look after the house as best he could. Within a year or so, however, the burden of repair and maintenance became too much. The plaster was decaying, the thatch began to deteriorate, and the outbuildings started to collapse. Water started to penetrate, and the condition of the place reached crisis point.

At the end of 1997, additional funding enabled the Heritage Council to take action to save Mayglass from total loss.

A steering group was formed to manage the project. In addition to the Heritage Council, it consisted of representatives from Dúchas - The Heritage Service, Department of Irish Folklore, UCD, the National Museum, and as external advisor, the late Christopher Zeuner from the Weald and Downland Open Air Museum, Chichester, England.

In the Spring of 1998, Pat Ruane and Dermot Nolan were appointed as consultants to manage the programme of emergency repairs and conservation works.

External view of farmhouse

Outbuildings. February 2001.

Extract from: "Archaeological Excavations at Pollwitch Farmhouse, Mayglass, Co. Wexford" (98E0587). A report by Joanna Wren and Gerry O' Neill.

...The house at Mayglass is a variant of the form called a 'lobby entry' house which was common in the Eastern half of Ireland. The name refers to the fact that the central hearth has been partly enclosed with walls to the side and rear, dividing the house in two, and that the main entrance is into a lobby behind one of the hearth sidewalls. These walls often had a spyhole or window allowing people seated at the hearth to observe who was coming in the door. The earliest standing section of the house is the kitchen Northeast of the hearth. The rooms to the Southwest are a later addition as is the standing wall at the Northeast gable.

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Farmhouse showing cobblestones in foreground

Internal view of kitchen showing chimney hearth