One passionate local has started a sponsored run in order to breath life back into a 17th-century Co. Armagh thatched cottage which has been left empty since the 1980s.
Kilmore Cottage dates back centuries, first appearing on a map of the village in 1707, but the church-owned property probably dates back even further.
Conor Sandford, a native to the area, has started crowdfunding a sponsored run to help restore the cottage, which sits in the heart of the village.
He started the “Couch to 144km” to try and raise £2k to help the local church find a viable future for the historic thatched listed building.
Speaking to Armagh I, he said: “Long story short, I studied archaeology because I found a ring in a field in Kilmore when I was 16, which turned out to be treasure from 1170.”
According to Conor, that discovery began a love affair with all items and buildings associated with bygone eras, which meant “more than the monetary value”.
He said: “The Cottage is owned by the local church, they have owned it for nearly 100 years but the 1980s was the last time it was lived in.
“It was listed then and it is becoming an eye-sore, it could be improved to regenerate the area and engage the public in that process, it is crying out to be renovated”.
Conor claims that the initial investment must be overlooked as the project could have so many more positive outcomes for the community as a whole.
“There has been talk of tourist accommodation, the reading room to be converted into a community space, there are loads of options available, “said Conor.
“We need to do a viability assessment first, it has to be seen what the deficit will be between how much it will cost and what it will ultimately be worth.
“As one of only 144 thatched buildings in Northern Ireland, it is very rare and gentrified by the addition of a fanlight doorcase in about 1820 which is the sort of thing you see in a Georgian townhouse”.
Conor is, therefore, going to run 144km to try and raise £2,000 for the church to undertake a viability study to identify the use which will attract the funding.
He joked: “It’s 144 and it’s kilometres not miles because I am not a runner, to put it one way I hope the community will go the extra mile for their buildings.
“It is not one man who is going to oversee the regeneration of this building, I will need the help of many of the locals to do this, but it is going to happen, the money is there”.
To contact Conor for more information you can email him at TheKilmoreCottage@gmail.com
In order to donate or read more visit the crowdfund page here.
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