I grew up in a small farmhouse with sash windows in lovely Leitrim in the sixties. I had a love hate relationship with Sash Windows as I had to learn not to paint them closed, how to replace a pain of glass after the “ball sailed through it!”, mind you bringing a pain of 4mm or in those days (called 32ounce) glass home on the bicycle is a mean trick. The putty is also a unique product and when used properly and painted will last for ever. In my youth the hardware shops carried all the component parts for sash windows. You could go along and buy the required meeting rails (rail for the bottom), the sash rails, and the top rail of the top sash. It was a fast learning curve as when I brought back the wrong part you cycled back and paid for the correct parts out of your own pocket.
I was always working with wood weather it was fixing gates, doors and fencing etc on the farm with whatever limited bits and pieces we had. As I entered secondary school, I was fortunate enough to study woodwork, and a passion was ignited in me once I saw the large planks of fine wood and a good bench saw to cut them into the required sizes, and of course the wonderful aroma of the sap, I was smitten!
After completing my leaving cert, I was fortunate to train as a cabinet maker in Cork. Here I had the opportunity of working with top quality woods such as Brazilian mahogany, walnut, cherry, pitch pine and sycamore. During my time in Cork, I discovered my interest in restoration and marquetry. At the end of my training I was awarded cabinet maker of the year in 1980.
I opened my own business called Breffni Ireland Ltd starting in Co. Cavan, concentrating on restoration of antique furniture, and making small traditional mahogany furniture pieces with inlay and French polishing.
Demand was such, I decided to build a larger workshop back in my homeplace of lovely Leitrim in 1999. We worked on projects such as the restoration of sash windows, panelling, stairs, and furniture for the OPW; Áras an Uachtaráin, Newman House, and No. 7 Bachelors Walk in Dublin followed by the entire joinery fitout for Carlow Cathedral.
Breffni is now recognised as a top manufacturer and restorer of Sash Windows, while also creating straightforward beautifully made items for modern family homes throughout the country, due to the commitment and hard work of entire team. I am proud to be part of a team here in Breffni including having my daughter Nicola who studied interior architecture and is bringing her design ideas on board.
The challenge in 2020 is to cope with the amount of work after coming out of lock down and we are delighted to continue our work in Lisadell House, Co Sligo where we just completed the restoration of the sash windows. We have gained tremendous Clients since lock down that have beautiful properties and we are delighted to be working with them.
If your passing by, please call in, we have an open door policy.