Well-known Longford heritage site Oldtown House, Ardagh, has been awarded funding to conserve notable historic structures. The site was awarded funding for diverse reasons including essential repairs and repointing to chimneys, repairs of decaying roof timbers and eaves, removal of cementitious mortar to side elevation and the repair of tripartite sash window to basement.
A total of €4m was awarded nationwide through the Historic Structures Fund (HSF), administered by the Department of Housing, Local Government and Heritage in partnership with the 31 Local Authorities. The announcement follows that of €4m in funding under the Department’s other built heritage grant scheme, the Built Heritage Investment Scheme, earlier this month.
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, including in specialist heritage roles such as thatching and stone work. Following on from the successful introduction of the Historic Shopfront Stream last year, the HSF has again made funding available for a range of shopfronts including bars and pubs which operate in buildings of historical significance
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.
Minister of State for Local Government, Peter Burke, TD, also welcomed the announcement, stating:
"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. The continuation of the Historic Shopfront stream, investing in our historic townscapes in line with this Government’s commitment of putting Town Centres First."
Minister Burke added: "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."
"The awards also have a welcome knock-on economic benefit by generating employment for heritage contractors and other skilled crafts and tradespeople across the country. 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."
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