In 1997 Manchán built the first straw bale house in Ireland.

Bales of straw were laid as blocks and plastered with lime and sand.  It was warm and comfortable and cost €6,000 to build. He lived in it for 5 years until cracks began to appear.

Westmeath Co Co gave him planning permission in 1997 for a strawbale house. He applied for planning permission for an earthship (tyre-house) in 1999, but was rejected.


In 2002 he built of house of concrete plastered in mud, straw and cement, with a grass roof. He planted six thousand oak, maple, larch and Scots pine around it and an orchard of forty fruit trees.

While building Manchán learn that in the 6th Century two different saints called Manchán built simple hermit-type homes in Kerry and Offaly, one wrote a poem about his dream home.

Strawbale house, Co. Westmeath
Manchán's Irish Times article on building his own home, Irish Times, March 2009


Irish Homes article on the Strawbale House, 2006