The Minister of State for Heritage and Electoral Reform, Malcolm Noonan, has announced the award of grants for a wide range of archaeological heritage projects under the department’s 2022 Community Monuments Fund.
Sligo benefits from Community Monuments Fund 2022
Left to Right: Colm O'Riordan, Kate O'Neill, PJ O'Neill (all of Moygara Castle Consevation CLG), Grellan Rourke, John Kelly (David Kelly Partnership Chartered Engineers) and Kevin Blackwood (Blackwood Associates)
Building on the impact of the scheme last year under which 139 awards were granted to an amount of just under €4.2 million, this year 128 projects are being supported with an overall investment of €6 million.
The core objective of the Community Monuments Fund is to support the conservation, maintenance, protection and promotion of local monuments and historic sites. It contains a number of different measures aimed at enabling conservation works to be carried out on archaeological monuments which are deemed to be significant and in need of urgent support, encouraging access to archaeological monuments and improving their presentation and also building resilience in archaeological monuments to enable them to withstand the effects of climate change.
Under three Streams the Community Monuments Fund supports 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 social media projects aimed at disseminating knowledge of Ireland’s archaeological heritage.
Phase 1 works were undertaken in 2021 by local stonemasons (Left to Right) Dessie Harnan and Dan Gilmartin on behalf of main contractor James Oliver Hearty & Sons. All conservation works were overseen by Duncan McLaren of Dedalus Architecture and archaeologist Richard Crumlish.
A number of Sligo projects are set to benefit under the Community Monuments Fund in 2022 to the tune of €230,000 including; Moygara Castle (€85,000) for conservation works to the west tower. The project is an initiative of the Moygara Castle Conservation CLG and is led by castle owner PJ O’Neill.
The Fund will also see the Heritage Office, Sligo County Council working in partnership with local communities to deliver projects at; Easky Abbey (€85,000) for phase 2 conservation works which will build on CMF funded conservation works to the north and south walls of the abbey in 2021; the Green Fort Sligo (€30,000) for the development of a heritage access and interpretation plan for the 17th century bastioned fort in the heart of Sligo Town and, St. Feichin’s Church, Ballysadare (€30,000) for the preparation of a conservation management plan for the site and which will guide future conservation works to the church.
Welcoming the announcement, Councillor Paul Taylor, Cathaoirleach of Sligo County Council said:
“I am delighted to see Sligo benefitting under the Community Monuments Fund 2022. 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 communities, custodians and the heritage sector such as Moygara Castle Conservation CLG; 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 the wider community.”
Councillor Dónal Gilroy, Chairperson of Sligo Heritage Forum added:
“The remarkable impact and success of the Community Monuments Fund is a result of the close working relationship between the National Monuments Service and local authorities – the archaeologists, conservation officers, heritage officers and planning and administrative staff and partnership with communities – showcasing their valuable role in protecting and promoting Ireland’s heritage. It is very important that such support is shown for our archaeological heritage.”