Jack's Old Cottage is a cottage that was built in 1820 and has been painstakingly restored back to its former glory and is now a tourist attraction/museum and is used as a community gathering place.
The cottage, which is situated just a few miles from Castlebar on the Newport side, reflects life in Ireland from the 1920s and is full of items and implements from that time until the 1960s. According to owner Joe Moylette, the reason he has restored this cottage is to keep the heritage for the younger people to see and it is open to schools to use as an educational 'living history'. Joe himself has a passion for history and acts as a wonderful host and tour guide for the area. He has stories told by his grandfather who was born in 1860 and he passes these on to visitors to the cottage. The cottage itself was built by Joe's family in 1820 and was continuously lived in until 1997. It is named after the last nephew who lived in it called jack Jennings.
The roof was originally thatch but that was changed in the 1960s following government policy encouraging people at the time to modernise their dwellings but besides that, the cottage remains as it was in 1820. The height of the doors is noticeably small showing how much bigger people have got since those days. The artifacts that Joe has collected or have been donated really have to be seen. From the front half-door, oil lamps, an old dresser, the hearth, musical instruments, old delph and clocks, along with family photos all add to the authenticity of the cottage and its heritage. There has been an incredible amount of time and work put in to make it what it is today.
Buildings at the back of the cottage have been tastily developed into space used for community events and activities. The development has all modern facilities but blended in a very traditional setting. The space has a large room ideal for meetings, parties, classes, fitness classes, etc with a cycling room for the local cycling club. It also has a kitchen so can serve refreshments. They have held traditional cooking and baking classes here showing people how to make brown bread, scones, tarts, etc.
This is a great example of how private initiatives are great for local communities and contribute to the heritage, culture, and tourism of a small rural village.
You can find it on Facebook here: https://www.facebook.com/Jacks-Old-Cottage-158641630938196/