The Protected Structure

Anyone who travels about Ireland cannot fail to notice the sheer number of vacant buildings which have been left to fall into dereliction and which are intermittently the subject of attention on this site. Sadly, such is the case with today’s property, Kilheffernan Cottage, County Tipperary. 

This is a curious building in three parts and the challenge for anyone looking at the place is working out dates of construction for each member of the trio. To the left (westerly) is a two storey, three bay house with two deep windows, six over six panes, on the ground floor and a blank wall between them; marks on the exterior render suggest that there was once a door here providing access to the house. The building to the right (east) now has a steeply pitched corrugated iron roof but, it is proposed in, was originally thatched. Four pretty glazed doors with decorative overlights open to a large single room which, in turn, leads into the little link building, an entrance hall with coved ceiling and glazed porch to the front. As for the largest of the buildings, the ground floor contains two reception rooms as well as a kitchen and ancillary rooms to the rear. The most notable feature is the wooden spiral staircase that snakes up to the first floor bedrooms and bathrooms. Unfortunately, having been neglected for a long period, slates have been lost from the roof and the interior has suffered severe damage from water ingress; regrettably, all the chimneypieces have also been removed. There is a range of outbuildings to the rear of the property. 

Tracing the history of Kilheffernan Cottage is something of a challenge. At least some of it must date from the 18th century. According to, a Thomas Ryan, whose family had been resident in the area since the early 1700s, was proprietor of the place in 1814. Samuel Lewis likewise lists T. Ryan as being there in 1837 and by the time of Griffith’s Valuation a couple of decades later, Patrick Fennelly held the house – valued at £10 and 13 shillings – from Thomas Ryan. In 1922 the historian Maurice O’Connell, a descendant of Daniel O’Connell, was born at Kilheffernan Cottage where his parents were then living. In 2005, the year of Maurice O’Connell’s death, the place was offered for sale with 15 acres. Since then, it would appear to have sat empty and allowed to fall into its present condition. Inevitably, the house is included on the local authority’s list of protected structures. 

7 comments on “The Protected Structure

  1. Frank Cunningham says:

    Where is the market for the looted items is it in Ireland or overseas, or are the pieces used locally?

  2. Elma Cusack says:

    How sad. It’s a gem.

  3. Tony Harpur says:

    Now, why does the part on the right, withe corrugated roof and large ‘French doors’, remind me of Derrymore House near Newry…? Hmmm…there’s a pattern there, methinks.

  4. Emma Richey says:

    What a charming house and beautiful staircase and hall. So sad it has been left to decay.

  5. Patrick says:

    Sadly the words “ protected structure “ can so often mean the Death Knell of buildings such as this .

  6. Henry Brennan says:

    Tipperary’s record in looking after Protected Structures is abysmal. It leaves an open door for all sorts of alterations  and decay to occur. Zero communication with owners of Protected Structures, except to tell you what you may have done wrong. Never an  admission that it may have been for the overall saving of the structure. 

  7. Michael Thomas says:

    Bit of a look of Dangan Cottage in Thomastown

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