The thatched cottage is a stereotypical Irish tourism image, but in reality it is a rapidly vanishing scene.
Eddie Black is one of only two thatchers in Northern Ireland and his work is mainly on heritage or corporate buildings. As he says, thatch was once the roof covering of choice of the poor, now it is an expensive option.
But it would be sad if the art of thatching died out completely. It is a wonderful skill and the finished roof is a thing of beauty. Perhaps Eddie and his peer, Gerry Agnew, should hold classes to pass on their art and ensure that this piece of heritage survives for future generations.