East Cork barn with linhay-type structure repaired

A barn in east Cork incorporating a linhay-type structure with an open front and lean-to roof, dating from the 1800s, benefited from repairs under the Green, Low-Carbon, Agri-Environment Scheme (GLAS) traditional farm building grant scheme.

Linhay type of farm buildings are said to be found particularly in Devon and Somerset, south-west England.

“My old stone, single-storey building with galvanised sheeting roof is in the townland of Ballinlegane, Ballynoe, east Cork, where I farm dry stock sheep and equine and run a lamb farm-to-fork business called Ballinlegane Lamb,” said Margaret Leahy.

“I saw that the 2020 GLAS traditional building grant scheme had opened and decided to apply for the grant as I am a GLAS participant and wanted to conserve and do repairs to my stone building,” she said.

“I also wanted to do repairs to the three entrance piers by the road which hang two wrought-iron gates. My stone building is a large barn with stone walls located out in a field on its own. The mapping sequence indicates that the building was constructed between 1837 and 1888,” said Margaret.

The barn is unique to the area and can be seen for miles around. It has been in the family for four generations and was once used for horses, then storing hay and straw and now I use it for sheep at lambing time.

“The galvanised sheeting had reached the end of its life and the roof was recovered with new sheeting. The existing timber roof structure was retained, saving as much timber as possible. Stone work was done with field stones I picked up around the farm.

“Works included: relaying and replacing roof sheeting; replacement of damaged roof timbers; masonry repairs and rebuilding up cables and column tops; masonry pointing using lime base mortar; new metal gutters and downpipes; and four concrete barges were reformed. The three piers at the entrance were also flaunched and repointed,” Margaret said.

“The repairs meant so much to me as the building has been in the family for so long. I really wanted to see it return to full use and it’s so helpful to me at lambing time. I got 75% of the total cost in a grant,” she said.

Rarity value

“This is a wonderful linhay-type building and well used to boot. It is of rarity value in Ireland. I can only think of one other similar in the 12 years of the scheme,” said Anna Meenan, project manager of the traditional farm buildings scheme at the Heritage Council, which manages the scheme in partnership with the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine.

She said it is hoped to open the 2021 scheme early in the new year.