Local History by Seán Beattie


Ballyliffin “longhouse”1937

PRONI copyright


The Ballyliffin longhouse is unusual for north Donegal and is normally associated with east Ulster and in particular north Antrim. The roofing is traditional flax which is common in Inishowen. Windows are typical 6-pane in the front of the house although the side gable seems to have a larger window. With a fireplace at both ends, the kitchen is on the right and the sitting-room and bedroom are on the left. Sleeping accommodation would be available in all three rooms – an outshot at the back of the kitchen would hold  a bed; a settle bed would be found in the sitting room which would double as a bench and two beds would be found in the bedroom in large households. The longhouse is typical of the wealthier farmer whose dwelling would set him apart from the labourer and cottier living on a quarter acre or perhaps landless. A substantial acreage of flax or lint would be required for the roof which might have to be thatched every seven years. The photo is subject to PRONI copyright and was taken by a visitor to the village in 1937. Do you know who owned the house and where it is?

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