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€1m in funding for seven Historic Towns Initiative 2018

Published: Friday, March 16, 2018

Chair of the Heritage Council Michael Parsons and the Minister of Culture Heritage and the Gaeltacht Josepha Madigan TD. Photo by Maxwell Photography

Minister Josepha Madigan, T.D. and Michael Parsons, Chair of the Heritage Council, announced that seven historic towns are to be awarded an aggregate of €1m in capital funding under the Historic Towns Initiative 2018.

This follows a competitive process inviting local authorities to propose projects for heritage-led regeneration in one historic town in their area.

The towns successful in this round of funding are:

  • Youghal, Co. Cork
  • Portlaoise, Co. Laois
  • Kilmallock, Co. Limerick
  • Ballinrobe, Co. Mayo
  • Kells, Co. Meath
  • Castleblayney, Co. Monaghan
  • Carrick-on-Suir, Co. Tipperary

Speaking today, Minister Madigan said: “I would like to congratulate the seven successful towns that will benefit from the Historic Towns Initiative 2018, which is funded by my Department and operated by the Heritage Council. These towns have come through a tough competitive process where all of the applications were of a very high standard. This funding will support the seven towns in their programmes of heritage-led regeneration and help them to build on their cultural heritage to drive investment in regeneration and renewal in their town”

Mr Parsons added: “It’s wonderful to be in a position to support such a range of projects in each province. The projects, taken together, give a flavour of the variety of heritage initiatives that can be undertaken to better present the historic narrative of our heritage townscapes. The Heritage Council is very grateful for the support of Minister Madigan, and I hope that the success of this year’s round of projects will inspire others to explore the heritage potential of their towns in future years.”

What towns qualify for the Historic Towns Initiative?
Historic towns include those of medieval and pre-medieval foundation, plantation towns, planned estate towns and those established around local industries. While almost all Irish towns are historic in origin, a town seeking to benefit from the HTI should possess significant cultural and heritage assets and have a distinctive sense of place. Each local authority was invited to apply in respect of one historic town with an indicative minimum population of 1,500 inhabitants. Priority was given to projects that are ‘plan-led’ and likely to make a meaningful contribution to the heritage-led regeneration of the town.

What is the Historic Towns Initative?
The Historic Towns Initiative (HTI) 2018 is a joint undertaking by the Department of Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht and the Heritage Council and builds upon a pilot scheme from 2013-14. Lessons learned from the HTI pilot, which operated in three towns - Listowel, County Kerry; Westport, County Mayo and Youghal, County Cork – have been used to develop a nationwide programme for 2018.

Funding was awarded on a competitive basis in accordance with the assessment criteria set out in the guidelines at http://www.heritagecouncil.ie/historic-towns-grant-scheme.

Applications were assessed by the HTI National Steering Group who then made recommendations to the Board of the Heritage Council for funding under the programme. 

The internationally recognised practice of heritage-led regeneration shows that heritage can be used to create a desirable place where people can live, visit and do business. Heritage-led regeneration brings economic benefits to enable our historic towns to prosper through increased visitor numbers and decreased numbers of vacant buildings and commercial premises.

Full details of the Historic Towns Initiative 2018 are available at http://www.heritagecouncil.ie/historic-towns-grant-scheme

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