Saturday, January 21, 2012

A Fireplace

The Gallery will need some heat, and an internal focus, so we decided to put in a wood burning stove like the one in the Turnip House Studio, but this time put in a fireplace to hold it

first of all a brick and concrete plinth
building the pillars
two headers from the door recycled to form the top

installing the flue
applying the render


stove installed and dressed for Christmas!

The Gallery

In keeping with our recycle philosophy or 'make do and mend' we are in the process of rehabilitating a barn at the back of the site.

first sight - not very promising!

When we first saw it it had lost some of the roof, and the walls were damaged, but after careful consideration, we could see that this could be a great space for display, teaching and tea room. 

at least there was more of the roof this side

It makes no sense to spend a lot of effort and fuel demolishing this, creating a mountain of rubble for landfill, when with a bit of TLC and creativity it can serve our needs well.

The views are stunning as ever: up to Slievenaboley and the Windy Gap,

Slievenaboley; and cow
across the valley to the river and beyond, 

the river in flood November 2010
and down the hill to the Majestic Mournes.

It's alignment means that for most of the year the rising sun will shine through the front windows, and the setting sun those at the back.
What's more, tidying this part of the site up would go a long way to improving the visual quality of the place.

Work In Progress. In pictures:
roof replaced, unsightly gable removed, toilet roofed

from further back

2012 To Do List!

We're into our second New Year here in Benraw, and our thought are on what we plan to do this year.

Our Project continues to inspire, daunt, and delight in equal measure, and a morning 'tour of the estate' brings plenty of ideas, energy and enthusiasm to be getting on.

Here is a notional 'to do' list (from today's perspective anyway) for the next couple of months


  • complete vegetable garden - planting has already started!
  • clear the loose compost heap and remaining rubble
  • plant more trees - we're going to buy 130 native tree 'whips' from The Conservation Volunteers in Clandeboy
  • clear the American thorns from the front garden and seed more grass and lavender
  • start the greenhouse
  • create the composting toilet


  • replace doors and windows 
  • finish the floor
  • begin fit out
  • clear surroundings of rubble, etc.
  • create easy access


  • finish clear out of lower floor
  • conserve artefacts and furniture
Meanwhile, we are still open at the weekends, and other times by appointment, you're welcome to come and see what's happening.

So - watch this space - pictures to follow!