Minister of State for Heritage and Electoral Reform, Malcolm Noonan, has announced that 78 heritage projects across the country will benefit from a total of €4 million under this year’s Historic Structures Fund (HSF) administered by the Department of Housing, Local Government and Heritage in conjunction with the 31 Local Authorities.
In addition to supporting owners and custodians of historic and protected structures to safeguard and maintain their properties, this funding will also provide a welcome boost to conservation professionals and tradespeople by facilitating works with a total value of almost €8 million and leveraging an estimated 22,400 days’ labour, including in specialist heritage roles such as thatching and stone work.
The announcement follows that of €4 million in funding under the department’s other built heritage grant scheme, the Built Heritage Investment Scheme, by Minister Noonan earlier this month.
Through grants of between €15,000 and €200,000, the HSF assists owners of heritage structures – including those on the local authorities’ Record of Protected Structures and those in Architectural Conservation Areas – to meet their obligations to care for their properties. The scheme provides assistance to a wide range of heritage structures – this year’s HSF includes awards to historic bridges, castles, churches, mills, libraries, shopfronts, and an old forge, as well as to private houses.
Examples of HSF awards this year include €92,000 for emergency conservation works to the pier at Quay Street, Belmullet, Co Mayo, €200,000 for repairs to the parapet and roof at Bantry House, Co Cork and €50,000 for repair work to Lambay Castle, Co.Dublin. Limerick’s Treaty Stone will also receive over €47,000 for essential repair and conservation works to the Treaty Stone pedestal.
The HSF is one of two built heritage funding schemes which works in partnership with owners and the 31 local authorities to protect our built heritage, a key aim of Heritage Ireland 2030, the new national heritage plan launched in February.
Following on from the successful introduction of two pilot streams for vernacular structures and English and Irish-language historic shopfronts in 2021, both streams have been incorporated into HSF 2022.
Six larger projects awarded funding over two years under HSF 2021 will also be funded out of this year’s €4 million allocation.
Announcing the awards, Minister Noonan said, “I am delighted to announce another €4 million investment in our built heritage. This year’s Historic Structures Fund will assist 78 owners and custodians of historic and protected structures across the country as they carry out hundreds of conservation projects to repair and safeguard our built heritage. I am particularly pleased to announce the awards made to vernacular structures and historic shopfronts following their successful pilot schemes last year.”
“These awards celebrate the richness and diversity of our built heritage and help to preserve our connections to past generations, in particular through their support of traditional building skills, which this government is committed to investing in. These actions also help us to deliver on our commitments to built heritage under Heritage Ireland 2030, the national heritage plan which I launched earlier this year.”
Commenting on the announcement, Minister for Housing, Local Government and Heritage Darragh O’Brien said, “it is great to see the number and range of projects which will be supported by this investment of €4 million under the Historic Structures Fund. These schemes help to safeguard our rich built heritage, keeping many buildings in use and helping to bring many others back into use. The awards announced today also have a welcome knock-on economic benefit by generating employment for heritage contractors and other skilled crafts and tradespeople across the country.”
Minister of State for Local Government Peter Burke also welcomed the announcement, stating, “as with the Built Heritage Investment Scheme, the success of the Historic Structures Fund is a result of the close working relationship between the department and the Local Authorities, particularly the Architectural Conservation Officers, Heritage Officers and planning and administrative staff who make these schemes possible. I am particularly pleased to note the continuation of the Historic Shopfront stream, investing in our historic townscapes in line with this government’s commitment of putting Town Centres First.”
See the list of grantees under the 2022 HSF. The page also details Architectural and Built Heritage supports currently available.