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Locals save historic thatch cottage from fire

Fire damaged a part of the thatched roof of Teach Mhuiris in Brinaleck. Photo: Tommy Curran

Fire damaged a part of the thatched roof of Teach Mhuiris in Brinaleck.

A HISTORIC thatch cottage in Gaoth Dobhair was slightly damaged during a fire this afternoon.

Most of the damage was caused to the roof of the building, Teach Mhuiris in Cnoc Fola, which was built in 1860.

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It is believed the damage was caused during a chimney fire, however, employees along with a number of locals helped keep the blaze under control until the Gaoth Dobhair Fire Service arrived. Heavy rain earlier in the morning also helped dampen the thatch.

It is the only thatched cottage in the area and is used during the annual Cnoc Fola festival, which takes place at the end of July, to display butter making, horse shoeing and knitting.

Mhuiris – the last member of the original household died in 1979. Teach Mhuiris is currently owned by Údarás Na Gaeltachta and has been known to be a ‘’gathering/halfway house’’. It is a protected structure and it was re-thatched in 2005.

The cottage has been leased by Comharchumann Forbartha Gaoth Dobhair since 2009, and is managed by the sub-committee in co-operation with various community employment schemes.

The committee use it as a ‘’teach ceoil/áirneail’ ’and hold regular cultural and heritage related events in it. The annual ‘Feile Cnoc Fola’ is in its 30th year and is built around Teach Mhuiris and focuses on traditional skills, crafts farming and cooking methods

It is opened to visitors during the summer tourism season – over 2000 visitors visit the cottage per year. There are many old traditional household appliances and implements on display, as well as genealogical information from the local area. There is a permanent guide present who is employed through the Jobs Initiative (JI) employment scheme.

The cottage is expected to remain open as normal.

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