Ireland has a very distinctive rural vernacular built heritage which derives its appearance from its response to local landscapes and the use of a combination of locally-sourced and imported building materials. The Mourne Homesteads Project involved the restoration of a total of seven dwellings in three phases. The total building cost for all three phases was £1.3M.
Each of the properties was derelict and had been unoccupied for many years. The aim of the project was to restore and adapt the house to provide for modern family living, while retaining the original features that contributed to their distinctiveness and cultural value. Best conservation practice was adopted in the restoration of each property and the project contained a signiﬁcant educational content based around teaching and demonstrating traditional skills and the use of traditional materials. The internal layout of each restored house generally follows the original layout. The architectural approach was one of minimal intervention which respected and understood the fragile character of each building. As much as possible of the original fabric has been retained and new openings, where absolutely necessary, have been carefully formed to cause minimum damage to the fragile stone walls. Comprehensive measured and photographic surveys were prepared for each property and surviving details, for example, of window and door joinery, were carefully measured. The success of the project was acknowledged through a number of prestigious awards including a Europa Nostra Diploma in 2007.