A bid to save one of Ireland’s last lived-in thatched cottages has been launched amid fears the building is about to collapse.

Seacoast Cottage in Ballyscullion, County Derry, has been the home Edward Quigley and his sister Eileen for over 70 years, but their stay in the house is becoming increasingly difficult due to a roof collapse two years ago.

The house – estimated to be 300 years old - has never had electricity, running water or central heating and is becoming increasingly difficult to live in.

Despite this, the siblings want to remain in their family home, but repairs are expected to cost almost $100,000.

After failed talks with the government, their nephew, Mark Canning, is hoping the Irish Diaspora may be able to help.

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“Edward and Eileen are very worried about the whole thing and I suppose they are embarrassed too about having to look to others for help,” Mark told the Echo.

“The situation we face is repair works to the cottage are going to cost £134,000. This is for emergency works only, fixing the roof which has collapsed into the bedrooms and fixing the roof timbers and back wall which are also in terrible state. Edward is currently sleeping on the damp floor.

“Previously, the government provided ninety percent of the funds towards repair works but now they are only providing up to £50,000.

That means Edward and Eileen need to find £84,000 to fund the rest of the emergency repair works.

It's impossible to borrow this money for thatched cottages because even after spending £134,000 on the cottage it would still only be worth £40,000.”

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According to Mark, to lose the cottage would be a huge blow not just to the family, but to Irish heritage.

“The cottage has been in the family for four generations and we want to preserve it, plus it is also Edward and Eileen's home.

“The cottage is believed to be the last grass thatched cottage in the whole of Ireland, according to Dr. Fidelma Mullane from the University of Galway.

Dr. Mullane, interviewed by BBC, said she believed that the cottage was of international significance, and could be a last of its kind, thus making it historically priceless.

“We are pleading with people to help us save the cottage. We don't expect big donations, but if many people were making small donations it would add up.”

To find out how to donate to the fund visit the JustGiving campaign page


This article appears courtesy of the Irish Echo. For more stories, visit their website here