Down on the farm – new homes from old buildings


We have a romantic image of farm buildings and rural life but when it comes to it many Irish people have turned their back on heritage buildings in favour of what they see as cleaner, more modern homes. It is time we appreciated our heritage, says Tommy Skehan, of Kildare County Council, in the introduction to the book Reusing Farm Buildings, A Kildare Perspective. “Farm buildings, along with the field patterns that surround them, contribute greatly to the local character of the countryside. These buildings are coming under increasing pressure for change, which often takes the form of conversion or modification that is insensitive to their architectural and historic interest and landscape setting.” Kildare council wants to protect more and more buildings like this and the authors of the book, architects Laura Bowen and Nicki Matthews, set out the where, whys and hows. They also include case studies, showing how updating and extending such properties can be done successfully. For those who want to renovate an old farm, there are guidelines on how to do it and the first thing is to get to know the building you are working with.

The Irish Times