A thatch in time...

My mother's family is lucky enough to have a thatch cottage in West Donegal. This cottage could be up to 200 years old and is in nearly pristine condition.

Not quite 'pristine'

Well, when I say 'pristine' - I mean it has had very few changes over the years. So although it remains an excellent example of vernacular architecture - the roof and interior have suffered somewhat from damp since its last occupant passed away. That's why, now - with the assistance of An Chomhairle Oidhreachta - the thatch is being redone. But not just any old thatch. No, no. Thatch in the original Donegal style using native flax.

A long time coming

It has taken the guts of 2 years to get this all organised and underway. We are particularly fortunate to have found an expert craftsman (and gentleman) in Ivor KilPatrick. He, his father and brother will be undertaking the repair of the roof over the next 3 weeks (weather permitting). I would love to be there to see them at work, but alas West Donegal is quite a ways from Dublin. The video attached to this posting shows the cottage as it currently appears (on a beautiful, warm, sunny day - not many of those in Donegal, mind!) I shall upload another after the work has been done.

Beta - the new 'under construction'

I note the new Irish Times website has gone live. Looks like a good, professional job by Web Factory. Well done. The previous address of the Irish Times - Ireland.com - has now changed to a lifestyle/tourism website. Not sure that the execution here is as good. For instance, the new website carries the label 'Beta' in its logo. Can a website really be 'Beta'? The logo of Ireland.com

Application beta

An application certainly can - if some functionality still needs to be ironed out. That is where this label is seen most frequently. The classic example is Gmail. After 4 years or more it is STILL in beta. (Nearly finished there lads?) On a website, 'Beta' smacks of the old days of 'under construction', i.e. we are not quite ready to golive, but have to. Icons on the ireland.com website Indeed, the ireland.com website has 2 navigation icons labelled "coming soon". Neither is clickable and so we can't even learn what they have in store. Why not just leave them out?

Just go live

Perhaps it would be better to just say the website is live as-is, hide anything that is not ready and build it up over time. Otherwise, won't it always be 'Beta'?