Sigginstown Castle

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The New Build Area: Master Bedroom & Bathroom with rooms above

We originally planned to work on the House and Tower, and leave the New Build area, including our master bedroom, until much later.

We considered where we would live, and wanted to stay on site to supervise construction.After looking at some mobile homes, we realized it could be a few years before we slept in our own bedroom. So, we decided to do the Master Bedroom area first, as a small house, so we could have a relatively comfortable place to stay without paying rent. Thus we started work on this area in February 2019, and it is mostly complete by September 2019.

Before We Started

There had been an earlier gable end which had fallen or been pulled down. Remnants of stone wall and a clay/cob wall were there. Unfortunately the stone and cob were unstable so they had to be removed.

Floor levels & Excavation

We didn't realize how much lower the area at the back was from the house and tower. It is indicated on the plans but feels different when you walk around it! The two white lines indicate (planned) excavation level and finished floor level of the (big) house. The earth was already below the house level so had to be taken down to a subsoil level.

Laying the Foundation

We had asked local builders Fintan Carroll & Sons to work on this area. They live across the street and have looked at the castle all their lives. The whole family came out to work on it. Fintan and Neil lay out the area for foundations

The Knee Wall Appears

We decided to lay the foundations, knee wall and gravel for the Agricultural building area so it would not be swimming in mud. 

Concrete Floor is Poured

The Carrolls poured the concrete floor - it was reinforced with a rebar grid, with damp-proof membrane and radon pump. The chance of radon is very low in this area but better safe than sorry!

The Walls Start to Grow

Joe worked in all sorts of weather in February and March to lay the concrete cavity walls. Many people complemented his neat work. The walls will be filled with insulation. This area will be the most energy efficient of the whole complex using modern materials. It will be interesting to compare the old to new parts when it is all done!

Inside Starts to Take Shape

It is nice to see the building take a three-dimensional form after staring at plans for a few years! One can see the earlier scars of previous sheds or buildings that used to be attached. We plan to leave the stone exposed inside - it will be cold at first since the wall is still external on the other side...

Getting Close to a Roof!

Now the upper floor has been completed with clockwork, and door/window openings are clear. The two small windows on the left side are bathrooms, and the larger ones on the right are bedrooms. The very small opening on lower left is for the electric meter.

Old and New Together

This sepia tinted (new) photo shows the new build area taking shape with the roof framing started. The building and tower are not leaning (we hope!) The photo reminds us of the one taken in 1909 when the house roof was falling down. 

Inside work begins

Once we could stand inside the new build area it started to feel like a real living quarters. Doors and windows installed, Fionn Carroll did a lot of the finish work. We had originally thought to leave this longer and do more of it ourselves. Due to time and equipment limitations, plus lack of knowledge in some areas, we ended up having most of the interior work done so we could move in sooner.

Habitation as of July 2019!

We were finally able to sleep inside once we had electricity turned on for running water and septic. Gordon moved his small pile of possessions in on July 19th. He slept on the single bed until Liz arrived and we assembled more furniture.  We have a combination of old and new - the rough old house wall remains exposed with bits of dead ivy still clinging! The walls are still not painted, and we have IKEA basic furniture plus a donation dresser from kind neighbors Lena and Liam. It feels like a combination of apartment, college dormitory and camping! No kitchen yet...

A Kitchen finally...

Since July we had been living dorm-style upstairs with a small fridge and a coffee-pot being our most cherished appliance.  In December we installed a salvaged granite counter top downstairs and put in the other appliances so we can do some much needed laundry (living in a ruin results in very dirty clothes!) This is meant to be auxiliary and may be temporary, as the main house will have the larger permanent kitchen. Here are Billy Morris (carpenter) and Neil Carroll after they muscled in the appliances.

Our Living area for 4 years

The master bedroom and bath is downstairs.  Upstairs is an open area with three beds where our friends and family stay when they are helping. We go upstairs to "wallow" after a hard days work in the only living room furniture we possessed for four years: two Ikea chairs! It is a bright sunny area and it has served us well during the construction build.