Sligo awarded over €270,000 by Community Monuments Fund

Sligo awarded over €270,000 by Community Monuments Fund Enniscrone Castle will benefit from funding to prepare a conservation management plan for the site and which will guide future conservation works. L to R Angela Wallace (Atlantic Archaeology), Michael Breen (Enniscrone & District Community Development CLG), Tracy Collins and Martin Reid both archaeologists with the National Monuments Service.

Sligo projects to benefit under CMF 2023 are Moygara Castle, St Feichin’s Church, Ballysadare, Enniscrone Castle and Court Abbey, Lavagh.

Minister of State for Heritage and Electoral Reform Malcolm Noonan has announced the award of €8 million in funding for 140 archaeological heritage projects throughout the country as part of the department’s Community Monuments Fund (CMF) for 2023 – an increase of 33% over last year’s allocation.

Welcoming the investment, Minister Noonan said:

“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.

“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.”

St Feichin's Church Members of Ballisodare Heritage Development Group with Fergal McNamara of 7L Architects at St. Fechin's Church, Ballysadare which has been allocated €100,000 under the Community Monuments Fund 2023 for phase 1 conservation works.

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.

Five Sligo projects are to benefit under CMF 2023 as follows:

Easky Abbey - €17,798 to support safe public access to the site following the completion of CMF funded conservation works in 2021 and 2022.

Moygara Castle - €100,000 to support the ongoing conservation works to the south west tower of the castle.

St Feichin’s Church, Ballysadare - €100,000 to support the conservation of the south and west walls of the church.

Enniscrone Castle - €23,500 to prepare a conservation management plan for the site that will guide future conservation works.

Court Abbey, Lavagh - €30,000 to prepare a conservation management plan for the site that will guide future conservation works.


Welcoming the funding announcement, Councillor Michael Clarke, Cathaoirleach of Sligo County Council said:

“I am delighted to see Sligo benefitting under the Community Monuments Fund 2023. The funding will help protect our wonderful archaeological heritage and make it more accessible to the many who cherish it.  It will also provide much needed support to local communities, private custodians, as well as archaeologists, conservation architects, stone masons, and other professional trades.  Conservation projects rely hugely on broad community support and the availability of traditional building skills, the Community Monuments Fund brings these aspects together for the benefit of our heritage and the wider community.” 

Moygara Castle Moygara Castle is to benefit from a grant award of €100,000 under the Community Monuments Fund 2023. L to R PJ O'Neill (Moygara Castle Conservation CLG), Veronika Zemska (Master Stonemason, Stone Art Conservation Ltd) and Grellan Rourke (Conservation Architect, Blackwood Associates).

Councillor Dónal Gilroy, Chairperson of Sligo Heritage Forum added:

"The phenomenal impact and success of the Community Monuments Fund is a result of the close working relationship between the Department’s National Monuments Service and Local Authorities.  Working in partnership with local communities, they highlight the important role of communities when it comes to cherishing and caring for our outstanding heritage. We are very grateful to all of the custodians and community groups who work tirelessly with us under this fund to care for our shared heritage.”