‘Vernacular architecture’ is the term used to describe traditional types of building, often built by local people, using local materials and having no grand architectural pretensions. Examples are ‘ordinary people’s’ homes, shops, outbuildings, forges and gates. This type of architecture contrasts with ‘formal’ architecture – such as churches, public buildings, grand estates – which were frequently designed by architects or engineers.
Vernacular buildings are often undervalued because they do not represent ‘great architecture’ and because of associations with poverty and a perception that the buildings have become obsolete.
One of the most vulnerable elements of the built vernacular tradition in County Kilkenny (as elsewhere in Ireland) is the tradition of thatch; another vulnerable element is the traditional stone wall .
Two surveys of thatch buildings in County Kilkenny were carried out in the 1990’s. Please contact the Heritage Officer for further details.
Vernacular styles of architecture and their importance in modern buildings in the countryside is discussed and illustrated in the Kilkenny County Council publication County Kilkenny Rural Design Guide.
The following publications give practical advice about conservation and refurbishment of traditional buildings: