Detailed Outline



    The Irish Eco-Cottage Touism Development Project aims to create a new ‘generic’ branded and uniquely Irish product. (The brand name – relevant and historic, is ECOBOOLEY). The ‘Booley’ (from the Irish “Buaile’) was the temporary summer milking place, usually in upland and remote areas, and hence the name ECOBOOLEY for these short-stay eco-cottages.

    Rural Ireland contains countless numbers of abandoned homesteads, all charming and important in their own way, and often located in remote and beautiful parts of the rural landscape.

    Such homesteads often have difficulty of access and are not serviced by mains water and electricity supply.

    Rather than seeing the problems – of developing such properties as tourism outlets, this project believes that they may present great possibilities as ‘Eco-Tourism’ accommodation outlets.

    The concept has many, if not all, positive aspects from – Rural Tourism Development to Environmental Awareness to Heritage and Architectural Conservation.


    The overall idea is for the owners of such properties, who are mostly farmers, to reinstate some of those homesteads – using only eco-friendly technologies. These habitable houses would then be let out as self-catering accommodation to the expanding Eco-friendly tourism market.

    The plan would be to brand label the concept, using the symbol scheme method, and thus maintain the integrity of the product.

    The brand label would also be used as a national marketing tool on the home and overseas markets.

    Bord Failte, Teagasc and a Product Providers Organisation, and more than likely others, such as The Irish Energy Centre, An Taisce, Sonairte (National Ecology Centre), Third Level Institutes and some relevant government departments would/could all be involved at some stage in developing the whole concept.

    Businesses, both Irish and Foreign, involved in the supply of equipment and expertise in the alternative technology area are also making a critical input to the development of the project.


    This project is only interested in a totally genuine approach to the Eco-labelling concept, not in token Eco-friendly gestures.

    The standards to be set will be internationally recognised and be easily recognisable.

    The brand must deliver on its promise if the concept of the ‘Irish Eco-Cottage’ is to be a success.

    Work Programme

    The project consists of three main stages.

      1. Research into the alternative and eco-friendly technologies and systems (which are appropriate and available in the Irish context) that can render the EcoBooley completely habitable and usable.
      2. The restoration of one abandoned homestead in co-operation with the owner, and testing the validity of the techniques.
      3. (A) The compilation and indexing of the information and approaches.
        (B) The dissemination of the information to the widest possible audiences.
        (C) Make further arrangements with, and amongst all interested parties so as to institutionalise the whole concept, and begin the process of establishing the ‘EcoBooley’ as a viable tourism product.

Initially two broad ‘standards’ were identified (but the ‘A’ Standard is the one used in this first EcoBooley).

      • (A) Without the use of non-renewable resources (energy or materials).

        (B) With the use of limited non-renewable resources (energy or materials).

    • (i) ENERGY

      ‘A’ standard ‘B’ standard
      Lighting Solar (+ Batteries)Wind (+ Batteries) GasParaffin

      Mains Electricity (if available) but using ‘Low Energy’ bulbs etc.

      Heating Wood StoveMasonry Heater

      – Centrally located, gravity feed systems etc.

      Cooking Wood StoveMasonry Heater/Bake Oven

      ‘Hay-Box’ technology

      GasParaffin (i.e. Primus stove)


( ? = other as yet unknown technology)

    • (ii) WATER

      A B
      Water Supply/StorageDrinking Transport/ContainersFiltration + Heat

      Well (Hand, Wind Pump etc.)

      Mains – if available
      Non-Drinking RoofGravity

      Water Ram

      Wind Pump

      Mains – if available
      Sanitation Dry/Composting Toilets? Septic Tank + Reed Bed Technology
      Washing/Grey Water Disposal Reed Bed/Pond Willow Garden etc. ?
      Body Washing/Showering Facilities Gravity Fed Systems – See Heating ?

( ? = other as yet unknown technology)


      A B
      Insulation Cellulose Fibre (Recyled Newsprint), Cork, Wool.? ?



      TIMBER Built in furniture

      Roof Timbers

      Floor Timbers

      Eco-friendly Technology (i.e. Boron Technology)? ?
      Paints & Colours Organic Paints? ?
      Damp ProofingFloors French DrainsModify Ground levels

      Quarry Tiles

      Timber Floors

      Walls WainscotingLime Rich Plastics (internal

      Lime Rich Renders (External)

      Roofs SlateThatch

      Wood Singles


      TilesGalvanised Sheeting


( ? = other as yet unknown technology)

    • (IV) OTHER

      A B
      Food Storage ‘Appropriate’ FoodsLarder Design

      Earth Fridges

      Appropriate StorageContainers


      Gas FridgesParaffin Fridges


      Clothes Washing Washing Boards/ Tumblers/Mangles etc. ?
      ‘Idle Time’ Problems(dampness etc.) Overall DesignVentilation

      Lime Rendering

      Permeable Paints

      Stained (rather than painted) timber etc.



      Surrounds, Gardens etc. Organic Principles ??
      Other Issues will have emerged during research phase

( ? = other as yet unknown technology)

        • PHASE 1: A detailed structural survey was carried out on the Cottage, taking into account any special or historical features. (see PRELIMINARY TECHNICAL REPORT)

          PHASE 2:
          (i) A short-listing of the technologies and systems appropriate to the Looby Cottage and surrounds, and acceptable to the owner, were drawn up.
          (ii) The actual structural work had to be carried out to specification and under supervision and with detailed record keeping in place.

      • This entails the restoration of an abandoned, but structurally quite sound, labourers cottage (Built c.1890) on the farm of Eamonn Looby in the foothills of the Knockmealdown mountains in south-west Tipperary.

        The cottage has immediate walking access to beautiful wooded and mountain countryside and to the way-marked Munster Way.

        The Looby farm is farming within the REPS system and has a large supply of firewood, both planted and native.

        The restoration involves two phases.



      (a) The compilation and indexing of the information and approaches.
      (b) The dissemination of the information to the widest possible audiences.
      The use of workshops/open days including on-site workshops, with suppliers of the technology present, is planned (check INFORMATION & OPEN DAYS)
      Also, the production of literature and other material i.e. videos, based on the project and research material..

      (c) Make further arrangements with, and amongst, all interested parties so as to mainstream the whole concept, and begin the process of establishing the ‘EcoBooley’ as a viable tourism product. This will involve issues such as standards, marketing and the integration of the ‘EcoBooley’ concept into Bord Falte’s Regulatory systems.

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