Johnny Paddy’s

The recreation of a family home in Ireland

January 31st – What a difference a day (or 28) makes …

January 31st, 2011

“Corrigryn” takes shapeIt seemed such a simple idea for me to ride the 1150GS as far as Birmingham on Friday, where we were to pick up a new trailer, then to hitch up the bike and ride the rest of the way to Co. Clare in the car.  The reality was a little more complicated and will be written up elsewhere. However, suffice to say, we eventually made it home at 5.30am on Sunday morning. We had been away for exactly 4 weeks.

We paused for a moment at the top of the road to look down on the new building. There had been a great deal of progress since we were last here and I have to confess to a little emotion seeing Chimney breast will be clad in old stoneour little house for the first time, with its roof and windows installed. (In fact, we learned later that the windows had all been installed this morning!) 

Pat and John were working on the roof, putting up the wooden shuttering for the concrete barges*. It was about to rain, so we left them to get on while we sheltered inside.

Leaning against thSouth elevatione chimney breast, it is easy for us now to imagine how the room will look when it is finished. The vaulted ceiling will have one or two “feature” roof trusses installed (dependent on cost) below the French windows look over The Burrenplasterboard. Apart from lending a bit of character to the otherwise modern cottage, the exposed beams will provide a convenient fixing point for John’s home cinema projector (… for the football. What were you thinking?!). The chimney breast itself will be faced with stones from the old building and the room will be heated by a multi-fuel stove. We still hope that we will be able to re-use the original flags from the old house for the floor.

North elevationThe weather has been kind to us, so once the roof barges are finished and the slates are on, the electrician and plumber can crack on with the first fix. We are now at the point where we have to decide on the design of our kitchen.

*Roof barge: a painted concrete extension of the gable that sits above the tiles – a common feature of traditional Irish cottages, particularly in the west.

December 2010 – the big chill

January 9th, 2011

Looking north from living roomJohn and I arrived back in Ireland on 20th December.  Betty was due to join us for Christmas the following day.  We were so looking forward to showing her how the work was progressing,South elevation but it wasn’t to be.

Since our last visit, it had barely stopped snowing.  Temperatures of -10°C had been recorded in Dublin and it had been even colder in parts of Co. Clare.  Things were worse in London.  Following heavy snowfall, Heathrow closed its runways … and stayed closed.  Thousands of passengers were forced to sleep in the terminal buildings, while others were being told not to come to the airport.  Eventually, on Tuesday morning, we received a text from Aer Lingus, telling us that Betty’s flight was cancelled.  Though there was a slim chaNorth elevationnce that she might get another on Christmas Eve, we felt it would be better all round to cancel completely and rebook when the weather was better in the Spring.

The ice and snow had also hampered work on the house.  Although the block layers seemed to have made great progress, what you see in these photos was achieved in just 8 days – before the weather became too cold for the mortar.

Nevertheless, John looks pretty happy, doesn’t he?  The external walls are up to wall-plate level and are only a couple of layers of blocks required to build up the interior walls to the same level. Notice how the previous block work is now below floor level.  View of old house from “kitchen window”

The gaps between the two skins of blocks will be filled with Styrofoam insulation boards as can be seen in this photo. The next stage will be to get the roof trusses up before building the gable ends. Once the block work is finished and the roof is on, work will not be so dependent on the weather.