Lyn and Steve



We came for a weekend look around properties in Leitrim, never been to Ireland before and couldn’t spare the time to come back so bought the last house we saw, mainly for the barn and the land.  We were never really bothered about the house, Steve can fix most things so we weren’t worried about the condition of the place, it didn’t look too bad.  We decided to put in a new kitchen and bathroom for starters and then maybe replace the roof a bit later on.  We moved into the house in October 2008.  After living in the house for a year, it became apparent that it needed more attention than first thought.  The chimneys leaked, the roof in the extension leaked, the floors inside were lower than the ground level outside so water came in, the upstairs floors wobbled, there was quite a lot of creative plumbing and electrical work carried out by previous occupants, the walls of the downstairs bedroom were always shiny and damp and all the floors downstairs were on different levels. It was decided that the best thing to do was gut the house entirely and start again.  We moved into a mobile home in February 2010 and the work began.


Vernacular 3 roomed stone built cottage. In 1940 another half storey was put on top to create a one and a half storey house. It is believed to have been built circa 1790; there is documentary evidence to show it was rented out by the Lane Fox family in 1835. There was originally 65 acres of land but that has now been reduced to 3.5 acres, most of it being sold to the forestry.


All the works done have been carried out by Steve, who is a precision engineer, with the exception of the internal plastering and some labouring.  It has been done on a shoestring budget.  He has become very proficient at repairing stonework.  There was an extension on the front of the house which has been demolished; restoring the house to its original footprint. Steve’s mantra is ‘I can fix that’
Outside in the barn, we have built a series of pods from waterproof ply, providing warm, dry and clean areas for our various hobbies.


Renovation of old stone house instead of tossing
Use of recycled glass bottle insulation in the dry lining


We have introduced as much light in as possible without making any more perforations in the wall. Changed the upvc, faux leaded windows for wooden double glazed ones, commissioned local joiner to make them complete with wooden windowsills which he had never been asked to make before.  Up-cycled light switches, cottage style ledge and brace doors with Suffolk latches.




Soft wood for floors, joists and doors
Lime for pointing
Concrete for floors
Blocks for building new internal walls
Plaster board and plaster


Oil - we hope the insulation we have put in will limit our use of oil
Multi fuel stove


Spring well


Haven’t decided yet


Round the house is still a building site but we have plans to put a huge deck out the front with deep boxes for flowers. Hope to have a cottage garden area and exclude the animals as they eat everything.
In the field there are two productive polytunnels and a good sized vegetable garden.  Small apple orchard planted two years ago, plum trees.  We are self sufficient in vegetables all year around apart from the odd pack of frozen peas and sweet peppers
Compost bins where all animal bedding is composted and then used in the vegetable garden.  There is no food waste, the hens and rabbits eat all the vegetable peelings, weeds, scrap spuds and stale bread, the dog fights with the pigs for anything else.
Meadow with wild flowers.  We do not fertilise this field and since managing the rushes by mowing, the wild flowers are starting to re-populate.  We mow paths through the flowers for the pleasure of walking through them. Later on we cut the grass with our mower and make hay for the animals, we turn it by hand then bag it up into aggregate bags and store in the byre.


We have many pets, Teddy and Tony the Alpacas, Podge and Rodge the pot bellied pigs, 40 chickens, 25 ducks, 2 geese, 3 rabbits and Fungus the dog. They provide us with endless entertainment, manure, fibre and eggs.

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