Monday, July 31, 2017

Screen over past craftwork chipped away

The refurbishment by Ber Coleman of this cottage on Hillside has exposed stonework that was typical over a hundred years ago, writes Brian Byrne.

Predating the widespread use of concrete blocks in such projects in Ireland — though the concrete block as we know it had been invented in the 1830s — the removal of the covering plaster highlights the craftwork of people in the building trade when the Hillside cottages were built.

According to the late Jim Kelly Snr, tailor and historian, an original row of thatched cottages on the side of the hill was demolished around 1900. The historic Ordnance Survey map of 1829-1842 show those cottages, but they didn't go as far up the hill.

The current houses, which are approximately 720 sq ft in area and comprise sitting room, bathroom, kitchen and one bedroom, were constructed soon after the others were pulled down, because they are shown on the OS maps published in 1913.

The Diary at the moment has no information as to who built the current row of houses, whether local authority or private landlords, but we'll delve further. And hopefully this little piece will chip out some other local information on the matter.

Just as Ber Coleman's renovation work has chipped away a screen of plaster and opened another small window into Kilcullen's past.