The tourists will be disappointed if the thatching industry continues to decline. All across Ireland, the population of thatched roof buildings is sinking, giving way to depressingly dull roofing materials that just don't say "Ireland" to the tourists. Have you ever considered relocating?
No one wants to be a thatcher any more, and the craft is struggling to survive. At Bunratty castle, the master thatcher is getting ready to retire, but there's no one to take his place. Visitors flock to the castle, to enjoy the restored ambiance of a time long gone, but without thatchers the scenery around the castle could become radically changed, no longer reflecting the typical roof structure of the past. But the past is exactly what people pay money to see.
In an interview in the Irish Times, Ger Tracy mourned the loss of the skill. He's tried to take on Irish lads as apprentices, but none of them seem to stick it out. The problem is, they go in dreaming of the old days and ways, only to discover that they are not preserving their ancient culture. They are doing heavy work on a roof, exposed to the elements, and there's no glamour in the trade. So, like every other job that goes begging, the Irish thatchers are turning to immigrant labor to fill the empty slots.
Around Munster, the master thatcher there has taken Polish lads under his reedy wing and begun to train them in a craft that is wholly unfamiliar to them. Work is work when you've come from a poor country with high unemployment, and it could be that the trade will become associated with the Polish. It's a sure sign that Ireland has finally met up with the rest of the developed world.
In these parts, you'll not see a non-Mexican taping drywall. There's an art to it, the need of a sharp eye to know when the mud has been sanded evenly so that the seams don't show. Drive by any roofing project and it's Tejano on the radio and Spanish on the tongue. For those wealthy enough to afford a lawn service, it's the same thing. Certain jobs have come to be associated with the Mexican worker, and now Ireland is about to undergo the same transformation.
But if you don't mind hard work and you'd like to live abroad, there's government grants and training available. Not an easy job by any means, but to be able to list 'thatcher' on your resume...how could a literary agent cast aside your query letter without asking about that?