Beara farmers avail of heritage grants

November 27th, 2020 7:10 AM

By Jackie Keogh

The farm building restoration project carried out by Tony Murphy, Garnish

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A GRANT from the Heritage Council paved the way for the renovation of a 300-year-old farm building at the tip of the Beara Peninsula.

Farmer Tony Murphy of Garnish told The Southern Star that the grant – which was awarded in conjunction with the Green Low-Carbon Agricultural Scheme (GLAS) – covered 70% of the cost of restoring what was once the old Murphy homestead.

‘It wouldn’t have been possible without the Heritage Council grant and the advice of Owen O’Driscoll of West Cork Agri Services in Skibbereen, who provided us with information about the scheme,’ said Tony.

In the past, the building, which measures 40ft by 20ft, would have accommodated a large family. ‘In my father’s time,’ Tony said, ‘there were eight children and two adults living in what subsequently became an outhouse.’

As part of the grant conditions, Tony said the restored building will continue to be used as an agricultural building for the next five years.

The farmer told The Southern Star he found the project ‘worthwhile’ and was grateful it had been preserved for future generations.

The builder, Martin O’Neill of Eyeries, re-roofed it and repointed the stone walls, and now it is being favourably commented upon by walkers using the Beara Way.

As part of the project, Tony engaged James Byrne, an archaeologist architect with Southgate Associates, to assess the building.

Meanwhile, another Beara farmer, John Dwyer, of Tooreenmore East, Castletownbere, has also benefited from one of the Heritage Council grants.John used it to restore an old dairy that was subsequently used for storing milk churns. ‘It had gone into a state of dereliction and there were holes in the roof,’ said John.

‘The work – which was done by Michael Murphy – was finished about two weeks ago and I have to say he did a very nice job. There are now three stone buildings together and the old dairy sets the yard off nicely.

‘I wasn’t aware of this grant before but I have to say that there was something very satisfying in having this beautiful old retained instead of knocking it down to make way for something new.

‘These buildings are part of our heritage and I would urge anyone in the GLAS scheme to apply for a heritage grant.’

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