Templecross Church, Tristernagh.

Over €530,000 in funding awarded for heritage monuments

Eight archaeological heritage projects have been granted funding of €530,986 in Westmeath as part of the Department’s Community Monuments Fund for 2023.

The projects include €120,000 in funding for St Owen's Church, Ballymore; €100,000 in funding for Monasset Tower House in Tyrrellspass; 100,000 for Templecross Church, Tristernagh; €100,000 for Court Devinish, Athlone; Castlelost Church and Graveyard, Rochfortbridge €30,000; Kilpatrick Church, Mullingar €29,647; Culleenmore Towerhouse, Tyrrellspass €21,340; and €30,000 in funding for St Feichin's Well and Mill in Fore.

Minister Peter Burke welcomed the funding, saying it is a "vital lifeline" for heritage projects in the county.

“I am delighted to get confirmation from Minister Malcom Noonan that over €530,000 has been awarded to successful projects in Westmeath as part of the Community Monument Funds for 2023. said Minister Burke.

“This Fund is a vital lifeline for heritage projects that need conservation works. Under this grant scheme, there is also funding that facilitates the preparation of conservation plans, which sets the blueprint for action on a project. Funding can also be ringfenced towards improving access to archaeological monuments which is so important to open up sites to locals and visitors alike,” says Minister Burke.

The Community Monuments Fund was first established in 2020 to provide investment in Ireland’s archaeological heritage. The Fund invests in heritage projects and helps owners and custodians of archaeological monuments to safeguard them into the future for the benefit of communities and the public.

Minister of State for Heritage and Electoral Reform, Malcolm Noonan, TD, announced a total award of €8 million in funding for 140 throughout the country.

“I am delighted to announce funding for 140 archaeological heritage projects across the country under the Community Monuments Fund to a total of €8 million, an increase of 33% on last year. This fund has supported over 330 projects since its establishment in 2020, making a tangible, positive impact to the medieval forts and churches and the historic graveyards and castles into which the lives of our ancestors are woven, along with our own, connecting us to our ancient past," said Minister Noonan.

“It is also, of course, an investment in our future: in the ongoing care, conservation and promotion of these remarkable monuments and historic sites, and in the communities and heritage professionals who expertly manage the effort to conserve, protect and share them. I’d like to thank all of this year’s applicants for their efforts, and wish the successful grantees the very best of luck with their projects.”

The core objective of the Community Monuments Fund is to support the conservation, maintenance, protection, and promotion of local monuments and historic sites, in alignment with the aims of the Government’s new heritage plan, Heritage Ireland 2030, and the Climate Change Sectoral Adaptation Plan. The scheme contains a range of measures that seek to enable conservation to be carried out on archaeological monuments in need of urgent support, encourage access to these monuments and improve their presentation, and build resilience to enable these monuments to withstand the effects of climate change.

The scheme offers three funding streams to support a broad range of measures aimed at protecting and promoting archaeological monuments, including emergency conservation repair works at monuments, masonry repair, the development of Conservation Management Plans, access infrastructure and installation of interpretation signage, and communication projects aimed at disseminating knowledge of Ireland’s archaeological heritage.