Renovation project

Meenadreen cottage renovations

We are partially renovating an old cottage on the wind farm site to provide a stop-off shelter for walkers on the Leghowney Loop trail.

Who lived in a house like this...

This derelict cottage was once the Quinn family home, where sisters Ailish O’Boyle and Mary Dawson grew up with their other sisters and brothers who now live all over the world.  They have all welcomed the news that the cottage is being partially renovated to become a stop-off point on the Leghowney Loop trail, which winds its way through the Meenadreen Wind Farm.

(Pictured: Ailish and Mary standing on the site of the former Quinn family home) 

The Quinn family 

(Pictured: Quinn siblings with their mother outside family home in Straness) 

Ailish was the youngest of her siblings and was born in the cottage in the townland of Straness, now part of the Meenadreen Wind Farm.  She told us, “Our father always said the townland of Straness would be famous some day and he’d be delighted to see it become a focus of employment and such happiness to all the walkers through the wind farm.

“We’d like to thank the Energia Operations team for taking the time to explain their plans to us and for showing such an interest in our family home, allowing us to recall our family history by turning the cottage into a living project.”



Revisiting the past

Mary Dawson says she and the rest of her siblings, children and grandchildren were delighted to hear that the cottage was being renovated.  She says it was an odd experience seeing the overgrown ruins but, now that the site has been cleared ready for the renovations to begin, her emotional connection to the old family home has been restored:

“The grandchildren are really interested in the technology and in the turbines.  They’re also fascinated with the way things were when Ailish and I were growing up on the mountain.  They ask about how we got to school, how we survived without electricity and how we celebrated Christmas – so many questions.”

Renovations underway

The renovation project was the idea of Brian Mullen, Head of Energia Renewables Operations, who was driving past the site one day and wondering to himself who used to live there.  He says, “The Meenadreen Wind Farm Operations team are really excited about the renovations, which will enhance the site for walkers on the Leghowney Loop trail. Once completed, the renovated Quinn family cottage will improve the walking trails through the wind farm, preserving an important link with its history and the local community.

“At a national level, Meenadreen Wind Farm is playing a vital part in Ireland’s transition to a clean energy future and meeting Climate Action targets. Meanwhile, at a local level, we’re keen to see the wind farm bring benefits to the local community.”

Watch this space

Little remains of the walls but existing stone work is being repaired and a new roof will provide shelter for walkers. 

Rebuilding wall sections to outline the original layout of the house, together with the addition of signage about its history and the Quinn family who lived there, will offer visitors an opportunity to take a trip back in time.

Interview with Ailish O'Boyle and Mary Dawson Listen to Ailish and Mary reminisce about life in Straness in our podcast:
Tales of post-war food shortages, cross-border smuggling, mountain midwifery and the traditional and modern poitín trade

Contact us

If you have any questions about our operational wind farms, development sites, battery storage facilities or community engagement projects like this one, please contact our Community Liaison Officers by email at, or phone +353 (0)87 9944952.