Improving your traditional building

There are an estimated 175,000 buildings still standing in Ireland that were constructed before 1919. Thousands more were built between the two world wars. With proper care and maintenance almost all of these buildings will continue to endure.

What this resource page aims to do is provide helpful information on how historic buildings (i.e. constructed before World War 2) can be repaired and maintained. This page has been designed to be of assistance to professionals, tradespeople and homeowners. Below are a set of helpful publications and presentations we think will make the conservation process easier. Almost all of them are free to download.

The resources are organised under fifteen complementary topics: planning works, maintenance, roofs and chimneys, thatch, brick and stone, cob and clay mortar, lime mortar (including hot lime and plasterwork), windows and doors (including glass), joinery (excluding windows and doors), floors, ironwork, working with wildlife, access, fire safety and adapting to climate change. Because the upskilling of all those involved in building conservation is so important, we also provide direction on training opportunities.

Perhaps one of the first things you could do is to read Irish period houses: a conservation guidance manual by Frank Keohane (2016). It is an excellent introduction to the common issues and remedies encountered when dealing with modest historic buildings.

Planning works


Relevant YouTube videos on building maintenance

Roofs and chimneys

Relevant YouTube videos:


Relevant videos:

Brick and stone

Cob and clay mortar

Relevant YouTube videos:

Lime mortar (including hot lime and plasterwork)

Relevant YouTube videos:

Windows and doors (including glass)

Joinery (excluding windows and doors)



Relevant YouTube videos:

Working with wildlife

Relevant YouTube videos:

Fire safety


Adapting to climate change

Relevant YouTube videos:

Public Engagement

Training opportunities

Below is a non-exhaustive list of organisations that provide training on various aspects of building conservation. Most only a relatively small number of events a year that may be of relevance to you. Consequently, it is important to regularly check the various websites. It would also be useful to follow their Twitter and Facebook pages.


Building Limes Forum of Ireland

Lime mortar workshops and lectures regularly held.

Construction Industry Federation

One day course held on conservation theory for heritage contracting. This satisfies the requirement to have “knowledge of conservation theory” as specified under the Register for Heritage Contractors.

Dublin Civic Trust

Series of seminars on various aspects of building conservation held annually.

Dry Stone Wall Association of Ireland

Various short dry stone walling courses held throughout the year.

Irish Artist Blacksmiths Association

Variety of short and longer term courses available.

Irish Georgian Society

Maintenance of period houses lecture series held annually.

National Biodiversity Data Centre

Runs an extensive range of short courses on various aspects concerning Ireland’s wildlife.


Half year course provided on stone wall construction.

The Heritage Council

Holds a variety of conservation conferences and training days each year.

The Hollies

Regular one day workshops held on cob.

The Irish National Heritage Park

Variety of short courses including on cob, clay and stone walling and blacksmithing.


Earth Building UK and Ireland

Runs regular training events on earth building.

Lead Sheet Training Academy

Extensive training on use of lead for roofing

Scottish Lime Centre

Extensive programme of workshops held for both contractors and specifiers on various aspects of lime mortar.

Society for the Protection of Ancient Buildings

Series of seminars on various aspects of building conservation held annually.

The Engine Shed (Historic Environment Scotland)

Runs an extensive range of short courses on various aspects concerning building conservation.

West Dean College

Runs an extensive range of three and four-day courses on various aspects concerning building conservation.