William P. Cahill is a celebrated Galway, Ireland, roof thatcher who emigrated from his native Ireland after completing a five-year thatcher apprenticeship. He lives with his family in Ohio and has designed and built thatch roofs throughout the United States and the Islands for more than 30 years.
William and his custom thatch projects have been featured in the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, the Los Angeles Times, the Boston Globe, National Public Radio, the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, the Denver Post, the Dallas Morning News, The Old House, the Martha Stewart Show and numerous television stations. Nobel Laureate Poet Seamus Heaney personally honored William by reading and signing his poem, The Thatcher, for him. William has dedicated his long thatching career to his late parents, Billy and Teresa Cahill, who encouraged him to preserve the traditional craft.
Featured throughout the media including…
William got his start working with a local thatcher on the historic cottage of Irish Patriot Padraig Pearse in Ros Muc, County Galway. He also helped to thatch the roof of the cottage attached to W. B. Yeats’s castle, Thor Ballylee, in Gort, County Galway. William trained with his good friend, the late Peter Brockett, the master thatcher who led the thatch training school for the English Thatchers Association.
William met Master Thatcher Peter Slevin from Donegal, Ireland, when he moved to the United States. Peter was a great mentor, friend and advisor to him. He was believed to be the only thatcher working here since the 1950s. Slevin was instrumental in getting the Smithsonian Institute to sponsor William’s work on the prestigious Jamestown Church project in historic Jamestown Settlement in Virginia in 1986.
William is known for his personal honesty, reliability, hard work and easy way with people from all walks of life. As a world traveler and student of history, he can talk to anyone – and often does. Beverage of choice: tea.
“I get great satisfaction out of watching the evolution of a thatch roof from start to finish and I feel that I work in harmony with nature.”
— William Cahill
Dedicated to my late parents, Billy and Teresa Cahill, who encouraged and helped me to pursue my thatcher’s craft.