John Bent



From the front a renovated stone and mud cottage with a thatch roof. From the side you can see a very modern timber-clad extension coming off the back of the house. The old cottage has been faithfully restored using traditional building methods and materials and connects at the back by a corridor to a new eco-friendly extension. 

The renovation was a very personal project for the previous owners Yvonne and Eoin. Yvonne bought the property 10 years ago and since she met Eoin, they have been gradually renovating it together.  They were keen to do a lot of the work themselves and enjoyed researching the best, most traditional, most eco-friendly ways to do it. Recommends the ‘Traditional home-owners’ book.
A lot of thought, consideration and love has gone into this renovation.
Yvonne feels that, in particular for women, using natural materials means that the build is more accessible. Mud and clay are easy to use and are organic materials. Women without engineering / architectural background have more faith in these materials than a modern builder who has been taught to use cement and block and to build in straight lines.  She met Eoin four years ago and between himself and Terry, they did most of the work on it. 

John Bent became the lucky owner in 2012.


18th Century mud and stone Cottage with modern extension


It is one of the oldest houses in the area.  It is on the 1911 census but believes it could be as old as 1770 (?)


• Wanted to use eco-materials to make it a healthy place to live.
•  Renovation of stone cottage rather than knocking it down as she was told to do by many people. 
• Timber frame extension to have minimum impact on the original cottage.


This is an innovative way to extend a cottage, two very different buildings married together by a corridor.


Conservation architect Deirdre Meagher from Cavan.


Herself with advice from Conor McManus, Pat MacAfee and help from Terry Mc Grogan.




Original and cob (mud) floors that Eoin and Terry put down.



Stone and mud – lime and hemp render.

Re-thatched the old cottage.  The roof in the extension is made from recycled car tyres.

Insulation Thatch, lime and hemp.
Finishings  ‘Builders friend’ the only non-eco thing used in the build, was used to clean the black off the tiles. Barrier primer on the chimney to stop the soot coming through.


Oil burner for radiators (that she hopes to convert to wood at some stage) open fire/wood burner.


A well – didn't get a grant for it as had drilled it before applying (didn't know grant was available).


Septic tank


Work in progress but plan to restore original hedgerows at the front.  Would like to retain as much of the natural habitat as possible.


  • Time scale:   Working on it (from a distance/at weekends for 10 years. 4 years on and off then 2+ years every possible weekend, working non-stop.
  • Insurance is very high €1400, because of thatch.
  • Anything you would have done differently/ satisfaction rating:   Very happy, but if the project had been better managed in the early days we probably could have saved a lot of money. 
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