Books on Irish vernacular architecture

We’re fans of vernacular architecture – and have published/ helped produce a few books ourselves on the subject (Welsh/Irish interest).

We’ve an interest in vernacular architecture from any country, and obviously Wales. Here’s a list of books from a country that we have a particular soft spot for – Ireland. Ireland has a peculiar relationship with her traditional buildings – on the one hand they’re celebrated as part of the national identity/ psyche/ culture..and yet on the other hand they’re rarely protected or conserved.

We were so concerned about the situation in Donegal that we (along with Joe Gallagher) produced ‘Traditional Cottages of County Donegal’ – copies available from Joe – direct, or online here:

Below is a list of links to others books that are available that we’ve enjoyed. They vary from academic to touristic, but all have some use or interest. This isn’t an exhaustive list by any means. Note if you purchase via any of these ‘smile’ links 0.5% of the purchase price (no cost to you) is donated to charity Battery Chicken Rescue Northern Ireland. We’ve rescued battery chickens ourselves and, of course, encourage everyone to check the category of every egg you buy. To be honest I can’t remember the last time we found a UTT guest leaving eggs in a cottage that weren’t free range, which says something about the good community that we are! If you use amazon you can use that ‘smile’ system to donate on any purchase you make (to a charity of your choice, no extra cost).

Making ‘Falun Red’ traditional Swedish paint – Falu rödfärg!

We’re such HUGE fans of traditional Scandinavian buildings, yet despite several visits we’ve never managed to find the right UTT in Sweden (or Norway, Faroes, Iceland, Finland… but we love them all!)
So we’re building one nearer to home. We want to have it in distinctive the distinctive red oxide paint…but modern paints available in UK/Ireland have too much crap in them. So we asked our good friend and artist Åsa Fridén as she lives in one such ‘Falun Red’ house in SW Sweden. Åsa studied with us at University several eons ago.
Ingredients can all be bought from cheaply – Iron Sulphate is moss killer for lawns (try Amazon or any garden centre). Rye flour try your local health food shop. Iron oxide is available from or Amazon –
and here is how you make it – compared to most modern exterior wood paints this is MUCH healthier. Also a wonderful natural preservative for wood.
Tack! / Thank you! to Åsa for the translation. Even though we must have seen every Scandi-Noir TV series ever..even we couldn’t work it out 🙂 See her illustrations here –
Here are the steps on how to make Falu rödfärg!
1. Dissolve 2 kilos of iron sulfate in 50 litres of boiling water.
2. Add 2-2,5 kilos of finely ground rye flour while stirring, almost whipping, to blend the flour properly. Leave to boil for 15 minutes, stir now and then.
3. Add 8 kilos of red pigment while stirring rapidly.
4. Leave to simmer on low heat for 30 minutes.

The paint is ready to use as soon as it has cooled down and will last to cover 150-180 square metres, depending on the surface.

This paint sticks better on roughly cut boards. It’s also important to make sure that the fibres of the boards are facing downwards, so that water won’t be caught in the fibres and sucked into the boards.

Boards should be dry when paint is applied, but you should not paint if it’s too hot outside. 15-23 C is the ultimate temperature. Use a big brush and apply generously. Make sure to work the paint into the fibres of the boards. [image: image.png] [image: image.png]
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The Swedish House – a UTT newbuild by the sea

This sorry pile of blocks has been sitting on a beautiful piece of land overlooking the Atlantic for a decade…one of the many projects that froze as the ‘Celtic Tiger’ collapsed in Ireland around 2007. The house was never completed, but eventually the developers who owned it sold it on, and now we hope to bring the project to completion, and make it attractive.
For us…it’s a challenge – take a very dull and ordinary ‘bungalow’ plan and make it beautiful. It’s a way for us to demonstrate that small changes, allowable within Planning, make all the difference between ugly and beautiful…so watch us as we complete ‘The Swedish House’ (in Donegal) over the coming year, and see it grow!