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About Connell’s House & Barn


living with thatch

One of the most iconic images of Ireland is the thatched cottage. They can be found all over Ireland, although the style can vary from region to region. Since childhood, I’ve always been fascinated by thatched cottages. My father was raised in a classic thatched farm cottage, although sadly I have no memory of it. It was demolished like so many cottages in the 1960’s, in favour of modern bungalows with central heating and indoor bathrooms.

The Restoration

Despite the difficulties (and there are many) in restoring these homes, there are still lots of thatched cottages dotted all over County Meath. When I had the opportunity to restore Connell’s House after a long period of neglect, it was a journey full of surprises and a real learning curve.

However, I never lost sight of my vision to re-crown the cottage with a new thatched roof and thankfully after two years of hard work, I got there! I decided to convert the old stone barn adjacent to the cottage and it was one of the best decisions I made, as it has become a really quirky addition to the cottage, where guests love to stay.

The History

For several generations the Connell family have lived in Connell’s House (hence the name). Mr and Mrs Connell raised their family of eight children in the cottage and two of them still reside in Duleek today. Jim Connell (a bachelor) was the last family member to live here and when he passed away the cottage fell into disrepair, until the restoration began in 2015. 

The thatched roof was removed in the 1960’s and covered with corrugated iron, which was common practice throughout Ireland at the time. The original cottage consisted of three rooms, two downstairs and one upstairs, with an open hearth fire place. However, as the family expanded the first floor of the Barn was converted into a bedroom with a connecting doorway. A typical flat roof extension was added in the 1950’s, which housed a bathroom and scullery. This extension was demolished during the restoration and the doorway in to the Barn was bricked up, to create to two holiday homes.

Evolving over the centuries

The house was originally constructed from cob (mud) walls, but has evolved over the centuries into a primarily stone rubble structure. However, some of the cob material remains visible in the Parlour. The old walls could no longer support a new thatched roof, so a framework of steel was erected inside the cottage and has been left exposed to illustrate the evolution of the building.

Connell’s House is the oldest standing dwelling in Duleek and dates back to 1690, although the adjacent Barn was built sometime later during the 19th century. 

Local Community

One of the more surprising aspects of restoring Connell’s House & Barn, was the interest and enthusiasm from the local community. I had no idea that this landmark house meant so much to them and how delighted they were to see it restored with the lights switched on once again.

Bespoke furniture

I’ve worked in the furniture industry for over twenty years and I have a passion for clever design and beautifully made furniture and objects, which hopefully you’ll see reflected in the decoration of the House & Barn.

I love nothing more than rummaging around old salvage yards on the weekends looking for the perfect cast iron gate or rocking chair.

Rolling Green Pastures

Although I’m from Dublin, I’ve always had an affinity for County Meath as my grandfather had a farm not far from Duleek, where our family still farms to this day. Of all the counties in Ireland, Meath has the most amazing megalithic sites, rolling green pastures and a spectacular coastline, which many Irish people don’t even know exists!

Our family just love the stunning beaches of Laytown and Bettystown, and paddling down the Boyne Canal is a wonderful way to spend a lazy Sunday afternoon. Walking along the idyllic banks of the river Boyne, really makes us appreciate this beautiful place also known as the Royal County.

I look forward to welcoming you to Connell’s House & Barn. From your host, Karla


Restoration gallery

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