Major Historic Towns Initiative

Major Historic Towns Initiative for Sligo

Major Historic Towns Initiative for Sligo

The historic built environment of Sligo will receive much-needed support and investment following the announcement that The Heritage Council has awarded €200,000 to a heritage-led regeneration initiative in the town this year.

The Heritage Office of Sligo County Council in partnership with Sligo BID, the property owners and the local community were awarded €200,000 under the Historic Towns Initiative 2020.  The award is being further supported with €50,000 in funding from Sligo County Council as well as private investment from property owners.

Welcoming the funding announcement, Cathaoirleach of Sligo County Council, Councillor Dara Mulvey said

“There is a growing recognition that the survival and successful regeneration of our towns and villages needs to be based on, and informed by, an appreciation of and investment in our built heritage.  The Historic Towns Initiative is local authority, business and local community-led and has heritage considerations at its heart.  Experience has shown that places that have a strong civic pride in their historic buildings, invest in their historic environment and employ best conservation practice, are those that make the most attractive places to live, work and visit.” 

Chair of Sligo Heritage Forum, Councillor Dónal Gilroy also welcomed the announcement saying

“for decades, historic buildings and streetscapes in our towns and villages have been overlooked.  Initiatives such as the Historic Towns Initiative underline the importance of our built heritage and emphasise the opportunities that historic buildings present to accommodate new uses and to bring life back to our historic towns and villages.  Sligo has a very rich history and this is manifest in, and communicated by, its historic buildings.  We hope that the Historic Towns Initiative in Sligo this year will inspire other heritage-led initiatives in towns and villages elsewhere in the county.”

Siobhán Ryan, Heritage Officer with Sligo County Council outlined that

“the funding has been secured for the Heritage led regeneration of O’Connell Street, Sligo (Phase 1).  The project will see Sligo County Council working in partnership with Sligo BID and local property owners to conserve the historic built environment, facilitate sustainable heritage-led regeneration, reinforce civic pride, enhance attractiveness and promote the tourism potential of Sligo's historic core.  Nine historic buildings in the southern part of O’Connell Street, Sligo will benefit from the Historic Towns Initiative in 2020.  The conservation works planned under the Historic Towns Initiative include roof and chimney repairs, installation of cast-iron rainwater goods, reinstatement of timber sash windows and doors, the repair and reinstatement of historic shop fronts using traditional materials and informed by best conservation practice.  In our grant application, we worked closely with Duncan McLaren of Dedalus Architecture, a grade one conservation architect based in Donegal.  Dedalus Architecture will also provide conservation supervision for the project.  The initiative has the support of Sligo BID, the local residents, businesses and community groups.  The works will be completed by November 2020 and we look forward to working with all stakeholders to ensure that the initiative is a success“.

The Sligo Historic Towns Initiative contributes to the achievement of the Sligo City Public Realm Plan and will compliment the works being undertaken through the O’Connell Street Enhancement Programme.  All nine buildings that are the subject of the Sligo Historic Towns Initiative are Protected Structures or are included in the O’Connell Street Architectural Conservation Area (ACA).  A Protected Structure is a structure that is protected under the Planning and Development Act and is considered to be special architectural, historical, archaeological, artistic, cultural, scientific, social or technical interest.  The planned works are also taking place within a zone of archaeological potential that follows the boundary of the historic town of Sligo and which is protected under the National Monuments Acts.

Along with Sligo, five other towns countrywide benefitted under this year’s Historic Towns Initiative including; Ballina, County Mayo (€140,000); Clones, County Monaghan (€103,000); Roscommon, County Roscommon (€157,000); Ramelton, County Donegal (€200,000) and Tralee, County Kerry (€200,000). 

Malcolm Noonan, Minister of State for Heritage said:

“Firstly, as many people know, I am committed to heritage-led regeneration of our towns and villages, so I am truly delighted that one of my first roles as Minister is to congratulate the six successful towns that will benefit from the Historic Towns Initiative 2020.  We are in unprecedented times and our communities have been confronted with challenges and hardships that are both unique and extraordinary. My hope is that funding such as this can, through heritage-led regeneration, bring economic benefits to our historic towns helping them to prosper once again.  We wish to put built, cultural and natural heritage at the front of both government policy and the recovery of the country and so I look forward to working with The Heritage Council and the Department on similar initiatives over the coming months and years.”

Every local authority can submit one application to the Historic Towns Initiative each year. 

“Each of the successful towns submitted a plan-led application with a clear vision, clearly achievable actions and the promise of strong public engagement”

explained Virginia Teehan, Chief Executive of The Heritage Council.

“The Heritage Council is very pleased to once again, administer the Historic Towns Initiative in 2020. Working with partners to preserve our built heritage is an important Heritage Council priority and we very much look forward to working with Minister Noonan in this, and all aspects, of the care of our rich heritage.” 

Chairman of The Heritage Council, Michael Parsons added:

“It is wonderful to be in a position to support such a range of projects across the country. The Heritage Council is delighted that Minister Noonan has taken up this brief and given his strong support for this joint initiative.”