Duncrun Cottier's House

Location: Ulster Folk Museum / Rural Area / 48. Duncrun Cottier's House

This is an original building. 

The house was built in the 1750s and came from Duncrun townland in Upper Magilligan, north County Londonderry. It was dismantled and moved to the Folk Museum in 1961.  

The Duncrun cottier’s house was the first exhibit building to be erected on the Ulster Folk Museum site.


The house consists of a kitchen and a single bedroom. The floors are of earth and the walls are of stone. An infill of sod was used along the upper part of the hearth gable and on the top of the back wall of the bedroom.

The hearth fire has its original wooden framed, clay plastered chimney canopy. In the far kitchen corner beside the hearth there is the bed outshot or recess. This built-in arrangement for a bed helped to save space within the kitchen. The bed outshot was typical of traditional Irish rural housing in the north and west of Ulster.

The cottier’s house was built for a rural labourer and his family. The last person to live in the house was Miss Margaret Clyde.

The Duncrun house had been a family home to the Doherty-Clyde family for at least four generations. Margaret Clyde was born in Duncrun and she lived in her family home for nearly ninety years. In the 190I census Margaret’s occupation was given as a dressmaker. She was 30 years old. Also living in the house were her parents; Patrick (an agricultural labourer) and Catherine, her brother William, aged 23 (also a labourer) and young nephew, Robert Butcher aged 10 years.

Eddie Butcher, the well-known traditional singer from Magilligan, was related to Margaret Clyde. He used to thatch the house for her.

The museum’s sound archive contains many field recordings of him made, in particular, by Hugh Shields. In 1969 the Ulster Folk Museum released an EP of his singing, “Adam in Paradise”.  This was reissued as a CD by the Ulster Folk & Transport Museum and the Irish Traditional Music Archive in 2005.