Clayfest Tour Day 2018, 29 September


Clayfest Partners


Clayfest Tour Day

Saturday 29th September

10:00am - 6:00pm

Earthen Building UK and Ireland (EBUKI) would like to say a huge thank you to all of our hosts.

How the Tour Works


The tour is a self-drive tour, as in it is up to you to drive yourself to each of the properties. Car-pooling is recommended. If you are attending the Clayfest workshops or the Secret Life of Earth Conference, check the noticeboard at the registration desk for lift shares.

Detailed directions and GPS coordinates will be provided for all properties on Thursday, 27th September.

Each property will be open for a 2-hour slot (except for Mayglass Farmstead). It is up to you when you arrive within that time slot, but please respect the times. No early or late arrivals, please. Plan for approximately half an hour at each property, although you may want to stay longer at some.

Planning the Morning Session

It is a 25 minute drive from Wexford Town to St. Awaries Cottage (No. 1).

Drive time between each of the properties (No. 1 to No. 4) is approximately 10 minutes or less.


Drive time from Sigginstown Tower House (No. 4) to Tomhaggard is less than 10 minutes. Drive time from Sigginstown Tower House to Kilmore is less than 15 minutes. There are options for lunch in both villages.

Drive time from Tomhaggard to Mayglass Farmstead (No. 5) is approximately 5 minutes. Drive time from Kilmore to Mayglass Farmstead is less than 10 minutes.

Planning the Afternoon Session

Mayglass Farmstead will be open for one hour only. This will be strictly adhered to. There will be limited access within the building as sensitive renovations are underway. Please respect any directions given during your visit here. Property No. 2 is less than 5 minutes away.

There is a 35 to 40 minute drive from Mayglass (No. 6) to the Dunes (No. 7).
There is a 20 minute drive from the Dunes to the House in Kilmuckridge (No. 8).
There is a 10 minute drive from Kilmuckridge to the House at Ballyedmond (No. 9).

Finishing the Tour

It is a 25 minute drive from Ballyedmond back to Wexford Town.

It is approximately 15 minutes from Ballyedmond to Ferns, which will take you on to the N11 to Dublin (Ferns to Dublin Port: approx. 1 hour and 20 minutes. Ferns to Dublin Airport: approx. 1 hour and 20 minutes with tolls)


The Properties

No. 1 St Awaries 10:00am - 12:00 noon

Christian and Fiona will open the doors of their beautiful mudwall cottage. Renovated in 2016, the owners will describe the work they carried out to bring this building back to life, including removing the cement render (external plaster) to replace it with a lime coat, allowing the walls to breathe again.

Car Parking:       There are 6 car park spaces on the property with additional parking available next door.

Directions: GPS Coordinates and detailed directions will be provided 48 hours in advance of the tour.


No. 2 Church of Rosslare Parish, Churchtown 10:30am - 12:30pm

This medieval church hails from the 13th Century. The stonework is bonded together with earth. No conservation works have ever been carried out on the building. Sadly, the church is now falling into ruin, after 8 centuries. Although this will give you a great opportunity to examine the earth mortars in its massive walls. Archaeologist Catherine McLoughlin will be on hand to show you around.

Car Parking: Cars can park on the laneway leading to the church.

Directions: GPS Coordinates and detailed directions will be provided 48 hours in advance of the tour.


No. 3 Ballysampson House (also known as The John Barry House) 11:00am - 1:00pm

The birth place of commodore John Barry (25/03/1745) who emigrated to America at a young age and later became the founder of the American Navy. The house originally was thatched, but this was replaced by a slate roof in 1959. Current renovation work on the property commenced in 2015. This work was a necessity due to its age and bad state of repair. Much of the front of the house needed to be rebuilt and has been repaired with mud blocks. This work is being grant aided by the department of Arts, Heritage & the Gaeltacht. Engineer, Dermot Nolan, will be available to guide you around the property.

Car Parking: Ample on-site parking.

Directions: GPS Coordinates and detailed directions will be provided 48 hours in advance of the tour.


No. 4    Sigginstown Tower House        11:30am - 1:30pm

Sigginstown Tower was build by the Siggins family circa 1520. A house was added in the 17th century and later, a barn.There is evidence that the site was occupied prior to the 16th century; the Siggins can be documented back to 1342. After Cromwell, the castle was granted to William Jacob in return for service, and later passed to the Wilson Family. Liz & Gordon Jones bought the castle in 2016 and are planning to make it habitable and use it for living history events. They will be on hand to show you around.

Car Parking:    Cars can park in a field shortly past the castle on the left.

Directions:    GPS Coordinates and detailed directions will be provided 48 hours in advance of the tour.



Optional Lunch Break

There are pubs and restaurants in Tomhaggard and Kilmore.



No. 5    Mayglass Farmstead        2:00pm - 3:00pm

Please note that due to the ongoing sensitive renovations at Mayglass Farmstead this property will only be open for one hour and there will be limited access within the building. Please respect any directions given during your visit here.

Since 1999 the Heritage Council has been centrally involved in the conservation and care of a traditional thatched farmhouse and farm yard at Mayglass, Co Wexford (Pollwitch townland). This complex was never modernised and is of considerable significance. The contents of the house are currently in storage in the Irish Agricultural Museum at Johnstown Castle and a book describing the project was published by the Heritage Council in 2003. The roof of the dwelling house underwent thatch repairs this summer and the repair of the outhouse roof is about to start. The house is likely to date from the early eighteenth century. The walls are of earth. The kitchen has a clay floor and a rare brick-lined wall oven in the hearth area. There is also a large hearth canopy constructed of un-fired mud bricks. The complex remains in private ownership and is not suited for large numbers of visitors. Full access to the house interior is not possible but access to the kitchen is possible in small numbers. Head of Conservation at the Heritage Council, Ian Doyle, will be on hand to guide you.

Car Parking:   There is no parking at this property so please do not attempt to enter the complex unless on foot. Saint Fintan's Catholic Church, Mayglass is located 220m to the north of the Mayglass property and parking will be available in the car park. Leave the church car park and turn right on to the road for a short walk across the railway level crossing. The house is on the righthand side. A high visibility vest is advisable for walking along the road.

Directions:    GPS Coordinates and detailed directions will be provided 48 hours in advance of the tour.




No. 6 House at Mayglass 2:30pm - 4:30pm

It is always interesting to see a project in the midst of renovation. The house at Mayglass was a tenant farm under the Forth and Bargy Estate. The previous owner was Jim McCarty, a bachelor farmer. He and his family had several steam engines for carrying out threshing contract work in the area.

Kay and Paul are the current owners and are in the process of renovating the property. So far, they replaced the old thatch with straw, in keeping with the original materials used. The concrete rendering on the interior walls has been removed, and new windows and a door were made in the old traditional way. The old dairy extension at the back of the house was removed. Two interior walls were demolished to make one large room on one side, which they have further opened up by taking out the upper level. In the future, they will add two small landings on either side of this room for mezzanine bedrooms. They plan to repair the chimney breast and leave the handmade mud bricks exposed. The interior and exterior mud walls will be plastered with lime. Modern services will be as discreet as possible, with underfloor heating and electricity only in the original cottage. All other mod cons and plumbing will be housed in the extension.
Kay will be at home to show you around and answer any of your questions. There are three friendly dogs at this property.

Car Parking:     Limited parking is available along the road or inside the back gate.

Directions: GPS Coordinates and detailed directions will be provided 48 hours in advance of the tour.


No. 7 The Dunes 3:00pm - 5:00pm

Dee used to visit an old couple in their mudwall cottage in Co. Wexford in the 60s. She always loved the feel of the place, a sense of home that was bound up in the handmade walls. Her father said that, aged five, she announced she would live there some day. She bought the house in 2014. The Dunes is a single-storey five-bay house, built between 1841-1903, and only 70 paces from Curracloe Beach. Dee will be available to show you around, so you can discover the attraction of its mud walls and thatched roof for yourself.

Car Parking:    Ample parking in Ballinesker car park and limited on-site parking.

Directions: GPS Coordinates and detailed directions will be provided 48 hours in advance of the tour.


No. 8. House at Kilmuckridge 3:30 - 5:30pm

Only one thatched house survives in the village of Kilmuckridge, Co. Wexford, located in a prominent position opposite the Catholic church. It is not known exactly when it was constructed, but it is shown on the Ordnance Survey map published in 1841 along with three other houses that clustered around the church and national school. The house was extended around 1860 and evidence of this, together with a change in orientation, was uncovered. The remains of a gabled windbreak on the south side showed that this was the original entrance. The changeover from the south to the north side probably came from a desire to face the church and national school and suggests that the house pre-dates the church (1796). The attic space originally extended only part-way, forming a small loft, the remainder being open from floor to thatch. The stairs were moved, the chimney canopy removed and the remainder of the attic space floored when a full-height extension was added to the west gable end, giving the present layout. The roof was re-thatched in the summer of 2014, using wheat straw grown with very low levels of nitrate and baled with a specially designed baler that doesn’t break the straw and maintains the necessary length. The existing thatch was stripped back to a sound base, new straw was pulled into bundles and then ‘thrusted’ into place.

Car Parking: Information to follow

Directions: GPS Coordinates and detailed directions will be provided 48 hours in advance of the tour.


No. 8 House in Ballyedmond 4:00pm - 6:00pm

Examination of old maps tells us that the House at Ballyedmond was standing in 1840, and who knows how much further back in time it stretches? The mud walls are battered, meaning they are sloped, being wider at the base than at the top. Some of these walls are rendered (plastered) with lime. Some have had limewash directly applied to the mud. The house has a high-pitched hipped roof, typical of this style, thatched in oat straw. Another characteristic of these buildings is the ratio of windows to wall – not much window, lots of wall. This house forms part of a picturesque village street with its mudwalled neighbours. Conservation architect, Úna Sugrue, will be available to show you around.

Car Parking: Parking is available along the green strip of grass in front of the house.

Directions: GPS Coordinates and detailed directions will be provided 48 hours in advance of the tour.



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