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how we live

'I love looking at the clouds roll past': Inside this revamped 200-year-old cottage in Donegal

Jade Doherty takes us through a day behind her front door.

jadethefarmerswife jadethefarmerswife

About the home

Where? On a farm in Co Donegal
What type of house? A 200-year-old cottage
How many bedrooms and bathrooms? Originally 2 bedrooms, 2 tiny bathrooms, but we renovated and reshuffled rooms and now have four bedrooms and two big bathrooms. The original living and kitchen are now bedrooms.
When did you move in? Beginning of 2017

About you

Name: Jade Doherty
Age: 33
Occupation: Homemaker and blogger at And I’ve just started writing children’s books which I hope to publish.
Who else lives there? My husband, Gavin, and our four kids: Tegan, 13, James, 7, Darcy, 2 and Aaron, 11 months, along with our adopted dog Jessie and adopted kitten Carter.

What made you choose this home over others?

We didn’t choose this house, it chose us. We were so fortunate to inherit this house from Gavin’s granny, who inherited from her granny and so on. It’s been in his family forever. We were just about to start plans to build a house next door to here, so it was fate.

It’s beautiful, the cottage is set in the heart of the family farm, where Gavin grew up. It has a little river running past it and is surrounded by trees, fields and has beautiful views of the hills. It has three-foot stone walls, slanty floors and really high ceilings, along with an abundance of history.

Which place in your home do you love the most?

The new kitchen. There was a barn attached to the cottage, which was full of damp and we didn’t use it, so we tumbled it and rebuilt it into our kitchen. I have to say, I just love it.

We had tiny kitchens in our previous home and even the first two years living in the cottage, our kitchen here was only two metres by one metre. To have a huge big kitchen, with the high ceilings and the big window is wonderful. It’s full of light. I love cooking and entertaining, so when I have guests I love to see them around the island, chatting and drinking tea. I also love lying on the sofa looking at the clouds roll past through the roof lantern in the living room.

Which place in your home do you love the least?

Our en suite bathroom! It was here when we moved in. It’s a wet room and I just hate it, the tiles are non-slip and attract dirt like crazy. As soon as I can it will be transformed.

Take us through a day in your house, room by room.

7am: The youngest, Aaron awakes after his 12 hour sleep (thank God he sleeps through!). He wakes full of smiles and giggles, so I take him up for his breakfast and bottle. Then I awaken Tegan for school at 7.20 and she gets up no bother for breakfast, gets ready and heads off to get her bus at 8am.

8am: I do my first attempt at awakening James, he is a grumpy wee bear so takes about 20 minutes to fully wake him. He gets his breakfast and gets dressed and he heads off down the lane to get his bus at 9.

9-11am: It’s just me and the little ones. Darcy will be awake by now demanding everything from food, cartoons and anything else she fancies. She’s very headstrong! Some days I’ll wake up with a story to tell, so will start writing a blog or a tale. I do it in stages as don’t get the peace to sit for hours. Other days I just potter about, tidy up breakfast dishes and do some washing. Then I get her ready for playschool.

12-2pm: I spend time in town visiting my mammy or going to meet a friend for lunch or maybe doing a bit of grocery shopping with Aaron in peace.

2pm: I lift James from school and return to pick up Darcy at 3pm. The majority of the day is spent in the car; four days of the week the eldest two have soccer and GAA training and matches.

3-5pm: The afternoon is spent doing homework at the kitchen table and getting some food for the young ones. Tegan gets the bus home from school around 4.20 and goes straight to do her homework. She watches the wee ones while I get dinner ready. Gavin returns home from work at 5 and we all have dinner together around the table, hearing all the stories from the day.

5-7pm: After dinner is mostly spent outdoors on the good days. Our kids are pure country kids, happiest outside in the dirt or playing football, so most of the evenings are spent in the garden or in the farm. Especially during the summer, when the farm is all go. If it’s wet, it’s still a case of them being outdoors doing something. They’ll be out on their quads and bikes having all the fun.

8-10pm: Getting them all to bed. Aaron is always down at 7pm, Darcy around 8pm and we sit and watch TV with the bigger two until their bedtime. We always snuggle up and enjoy spending time together.

Is there anything you’d do differently if you were doing it again?

No not a thing, we love it, all the new and the old. Before we moved to the cottage we were going to build an extension and then move in but I’m so glad we didn’t. We would have built an extension in the completely wrong side of the house where it would be dark and miserable.

Instead, we watched for a year where the sun rose and where it set and knew the old barn would make the best place for a new living area. It’s the opposite side of the house where the sun shines from the AM to the PM. It’s so bright and airy, so it pays to wait and do the research. Hopefully we won’t live to regret anything.

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