Irish Georgian Society – Conservation Awards Exhibition October 2022

The awards reception took place in the evening of the 20th October 2022 in the beautiful Irish Georgian Society headquarters in City Assembly House, 58 South William Street, Dublin.

Here are some photos of our entry in this lovely exhibition which we are very proud to be included in. Congratulations to the winners and all the practices that participated. It must have been a difficult process judging such varying projects in conservation but what we all have in common is a passion for our built heritage.

O’Neill Architecture’s Entry ‘Farm House’

‘Irish Times 22nd Oct. ’22, Article by Frank McDonald’

To view Irish Georgian Society Conservation Awards Exhibition Shortlisted projects click here

To view Irish Georgian Society Conservation Award Winners click here

To view Irish Times 22nd October 2022, Article by Fran McDonald click here

To view Farm House project click here.

Architecture at the Edge Festival, 9th October 2022

‘Rhubarb Patch House Tour’

A great day at Rhubarb Patch House presenting our contributions to a stunning cottage & barn renovation by homeowners Kevin and Lindsay Deely. Three years ago the project started with a Design Clinic with O’Neill Architecture.
We had two tours each with a very interested and enthusiastic audience. Lindsay gave the introduction and told the story of the journey of the building project, I described the design process and natural materials suitable for stone constructions, and the main contractor Laurik Mathieu of Mathieu & Mitchell Ltd, conveyed his passion for the lime renders and hemp lime insulation.

photo from December 2019 – the first Design Clinic

photos by Edel Fitzpatrick 2022 – the finished product!

And 3 years later a super cozy home for Lindsay and Kevin to enjoy after all their hard work. Well done guys – an inspiration for all people thinking of doing up a cottage!

To view Rhubarb Patch House on the AATE Festival website click here

The house was also featured on RTE The Great House Revival in season 3 episode 5 click here

To view more information on our Design Clinics click here.

Irish Georgian Society Judging Panel visit our Farm House Project

Our Farm House project has been shortlisted in the Irish Georgian Society Awards 2022. The Client and I were delighted to welcome the judging panel – Frank, Andrew, Simon, Kevin and Karen (see photo below) to view the house today.

‘Protected Structure – Farm House’

Our presentation boards will be on exhibition at the City Assembly House, 58 South William Street, in October with an awards reception on the evening 20th October where the winner will be announced. Fingers crossed!

To view Irish Georgian Society Conservation Awards click here

To view Farm House project click here.

The Irish Times- Home & Design section 2022

The Irish Times, Home & Design section had a great piece on period homes on the 2nd July 2022 written by Caroline Madden which also featured our cottage project.

To view more photos on our website about our phase 1 – thatched cottage restoration please click here and & phase 2 – extension please click here


‘Small budget’

Someone who is definitely passionate about period homes is Patti O’Neill, an architect with a Grade III accreditation in conservation.

In 2013, Patti bought a thatched cottage (part of which dates to the 1790s) near the shores of Lough Derg in Tipperary and spent eight years restoring it step by step, on a small budget.

“I studied as an architect; the training is very much geared towards new builds so in my  head I did always think that the highest achievement is to build your own house. But that’s very expensive and I’ve always been a great believer in spending what you have, not what you can borrow.”

She realised she could get the simple labourer’s cottage for a “very good price” and do it up in stages, as and when she had the funds. “I knew I could do it step by step,” she says. “There were tough parts but it was just so satisfying.”

O’Neill is a keen proponent of using natural, breathable materials like clay blocks and lime mortar in old homes like hers. At first glance, natural materials may seem more expensive than the alternatives, but she advises people to bear in mind that natural options often serve multiple functions and create a healthier living environment.

For example, the sheepswool she used in the roof not only insulates the cottage, but also regulates moisture and removes and breaks down toxins.

The respectful way in which O’Neill restored her cottage drew high praise from the judges of Home of the Year when it appeared on the first series of the RTÉ programme in 2015.

However, she realised that the flow of the cottage wasn’t working so she set to
work on phase two, redesigning the layout, adding an extension and creating a greater sense of connection to the garden and surrounding landscape, and is now reaping the rewards.

“These houses connect us to nature, whether it’s through the materials, through the doing of the work yourself, through opening up the house to the garden,” says O’Neill. “I feel I’m becoming a healthier person through my home.”

She believes strongly that more people should consider creating their own homes by renovating old buildings on a phased basis. “If you look at all the buildings that could be fixed up and retrofitted, we would have a surplus [of housing], but there is just so little encouragement and understanding,” she says.

“But it’s turning,I hope.”

How to stay cosy in an old stone cottage:

Architect Patti O’Neill explains the steps to ensuring you’ll be warm during the colder months:
■ Remove all the cement renders, floors and paths from the cottage so it can breathe again and dry out entirely. “A dry house uses less energy to heat than a damp house,” she says
■ Use natural insulation in the floors, walls and roof
■ Enlarge, and create more, openings towards the south and south-west for passive solar gain heat (this is heat that a building receives passively from the sun)
■ If adding an extension, position it on the north side so that it is “hugging” the cold side of the house and heating it up
■ A low constant heat source such as underfloor heating “in a breathable floor of limecrete” is ideal in old cottages

To view the Irish Times online article please click here.

CREATE UR OWN 31/3/2022


Welcoming you to come and hear the story of my cottage project from 2013 to now!

Architect, Patti O’Neill, Dipl.-Ing. MRIAI, Conservation Accreditation Grade III, will be taking us on a journey through her cottage restoration project with tips on phasing the works, best materials for conservation, how to achieve a healthy flowing home aided by an extension and the life lessons she picked up along the way.

There will be a tour of the Eco village beforehand, starting at 6.00pm and the event will take place at 7.30pm. Registration is essential and you can register on Eventbrite at or by emailing to reserve your place. The event will also be screened live on our Facebook page




New Appreciating Art – Visual Studies for Leaving Certificate

New Appreciating Art – Visual Studies for Leaving Certificate compiled by Áine Ni Charthaigh & Aidan O’Sullivan, publishers Gill Education has featured O’Neill Architecture in the Content Area 3 – Today’s World, Unit 16 ‘Art & the Environment’ alongside famous land artists Richard Long, Alva Gallagher as well as photographer Dara McGrath.

To view the documents online please click Gill Explore – New Appreciating Art website


  • This practice applies an artistic methodology to architecture and works closely with the actual landscape
  • Its fundamental aim is to connect the interior and exterior of a building
    Connecting it in this way to its natural surroundings stimulates environmental awareness
  • The same principles are continued in the construction with the use of breathable wall systems in timber frame or masonry, and the selection of natural, nontoxic materials
    Surrounded by wild ocean views, this three-bedroom house on Inis Oirr, one of the Aran Islands, encapsulates the beauty of the rugged landscape
  • The home was featured at the BAU in Munich, the World’s Leading Trade Fair for Architecture, Materials and Systems in 2015
  • O’Neill Architecture was founded in 2009 by Patti O’Neill
  • She studied architecture between 1989 and 1995 at the Academy of Fine Arts, Stuttgart, Germany
  • After graduating she received state grants and funding to pursue her own philosophy of architecture
  • She developed a method of architecture where the natural environment is part of the initial design process
  • This is recorded in her book, Placing Architecture: Landscape + Art = Architecture
    She lives in a thatched cottage with an apple orchard and her animals near the shores of Lough Derg in County Tipperary
  • Her cottage, was recognised as a labour of love on the first season of ‘Home of the Year’ on RTÉ TV in 2015

O’Neill Architecture
Examine Patti O Neill’s Healthy Flowing Homes approach, which is about bringing the user experience to the fore and getting an intuitive flow of the connecting space.

To view the a sample of the eBook New Appreciating Art Independent by Áine Ni Charthaigh & Aidan O’Sullivan please click here.

Irish Independent October 2021

It’s great to be featured in The Irish Independent which had a piece in their property section on the 8th October 2021 about our thatched cottage project.

To view more photos on our website about our phase 1 – thatched cottage restoration please click here and & phase 2 – extension please click here

‘Cottagecore’ — bringing derelict country properties back to life

Architect Patti O’Neill talks to Alison Gill about restoring traditional cottages as sustainable modern homes

We’ve heard over and over again that now is not the best time to face into a property renovation, what with the rising builder costs, supply delays and waiting lists. It’s not easy for many young buyers to hear that as they view homes that are in need of an entire makeover. But maybe it’s time to learn that instant gratification isn’t always the best way. Maybe we should slow down and incorporate that renovation into our lives, rather than a strict timeframe. Architect Patti O’Neill has first-hand experience of this process. She lives in Tipperary in a cottage that she restored over time and believes it’s something others should try.

“My cottage restoration project became my teacher,” says O’Neill. “I learned about the beauty and comfort of natural materials, building in phases and doing as much of the work I could myself for financial independence, while allowing the time for one step to inform the next, which created the life lesson of ‘going with the flow’.”

Working with the building is something O’Neill feels very strongly about. There are anywhere between 92,000 and 183,000 vacant dwellings around the country. Some of these are old Irish cottages that respond well to the proper attention and can provide a beautiful and sustainable home, once the right methods are used. O’Neill believes that the owners should go right back to the beginning when planning a restoration on a traditional Irish property.

“A cottage is usually the accumulated work of many generations, often starting out as one room and a chimney, then growing into what you see now. So, imagine your restoration project being the same – you don’t need to do everything at once, instead plan the general flow of the home and then take it step by step.”

The glut of dilapidated and near-derelict cottages dotted around the countryside could go some way to relieve the shortage of houses for want-to-be homeowners. Those who aren’t in a hurry and like the idea of slowing things down, could do worse than look into investing in one of these neglected buildings.

O’Neill’s renovation project began in 2013, but instead of going straight in with diggers and bulldozers, she made sure to do her own research on materials and sustainability. “The first phase involved learning about how breathable natural materials are needed for the basic restoration and rehabilitation of stone cottages. Removing all of the cement, on the inside and outside, releases the entrapped moisture which is responsible for the mould. Then putting it back together again with breathable and natural materials throughout, the most important being the lime mortars, which creates a comfortable dry second skin.”

O’Neill lived by her own rules and took a few years between the first phase and the second phase of the restoration of her home. She lived in it and got to know it before deciding where to take it next. This meant that when it came to extending the cottage, she knew exactly what she wanted to do. Her instruction to anyone who is adding on to an older cottage is to put the extension on to the cold side of the house so you’re heating up the old stone wall. Hers was built using natural materials that ranged from foam glass gravel, clay block construction, woodfibre insulation and even sheepswool.

O’Neill’s advice to those who are thinking about investing in expensive properties is to stop and think before they mortgage their lives away, and to try to take time to create a home for life. “The lesson is contrary to the conventional ‘time is money, and instead should be ‘take your time and get it right’. The outcome is no mistakes, no regrets and a slowing down to a pace that allows the enjoyment of simple things in life such as sitting under the apple trees and taking in the surrounding natural world.”

To view the Irish Independent online article please click here.

Nenagh Guardian reports on RIAI Awards Exhibition

In this weeks local paper the Nenagh Guardian published a great article on our Farmhouse in Co. Tipperary building project which has been selected by the Royal Institute of Architects of Ireland RIAI Awards Exhibition. The link between natural materials, conservation and sustainability is described nicely.

To view the RIAI Awards Exhibition please click here

The Royal Institute of Architects of Ireland have just held their annual award for architecture and have featured in it a farmhouse building project in Ballyhogan, Nenagh designed by architect Patti O’Neill MRIAI.

Ms O’Neill was selected for the RIAI Awards Exhibition in the category of Sustainability. “It’s very exciting to get this recognition particularly for a building in rural Co. Tipperary – it’s like the Oscars for architecture!” says Patti.

Doing up an old house is the most sustainable and environmentally friendly way we can build, she says.

She adds: “This farmhouse project is a protected structure and had been standing idle for over 30 years.

“It has been brought back to life through our conservation approach with natural material.

“The extension is also entirely of natural materials such as foam glass gravel for the foundations and monolithic clay blocks for the walls.

“All these materials are breathable as well as others such as sheepswool & woodfibre board insulation in the roof, lime render plasters and salvaged timber floors.

“Even the paint for the interiors is natural made without micro-plastics bonding agents.”

Ms O’Neill says many of these natural building products carry out multiple functions to create a breathable healthy living environment whilst also being ecologically sustainable products that don’t leave mountains of waste for the next generations.”

RIAI Awards Exhibition 2021

We are delighted that our Farmhouse Project in Tipperary was picked for this years RIAI Awards Exhibition under the category Sustainability. For more photos of our Farmhouse Project please click here. To view the RIAI Awards Exhibition please click here .

This photo shows the architect and my loyal German Shepherd who attended every site visit!