Interpreting vernacular space in Ireland: a new sensibility

Deirdre McMenamin, Dougal Sheridan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Citations (Scopus)


Performative analysis of the use of landscape strategies in pre-industrial vernacular architecture indicates that there is more design agency involved in the creation of these environments than conventional and historical interpretations would suggest. The development of this interpretation, referred to here as the Utilitarian-Landscape approach, has been described in the Irish architecture media as pioneering because it posits a counter-reading to typological classifications of vernacular architecture. Moreover, it challenges the entrenched scenic understanding of vernacular architecture’s relationship to landscape that underpins rural policymaking in Ireland. However, the limitations—indeed the dangers—of these two expressions of vernacular architecture, the typological and the scenic, have already started to be recognised in much emerging scholarship and practice. This article considers aspects of this scholarship and practice context in light of the Utilitarian-Landscape investigation, and points to a shift in approach to understanding vernacular environments and a new sensibility towards rurality in Ireland.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)787-803
Number of pages17
JournalLandscape Research
Issue number7
Early online date5 Sept 2018
Publication statusPublished (in print/issue) - 3 Oct 2019


  • Geography, Planning and Development
  • Management, Monitoring, Policy and Law
  • General Environmental Science
  • Nature and Landscape Conservation


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