A PROJECT on invasive species, conservation of the Butler Gallery Collection, the Kilkenny City Walls Talbot’s Tower Project and conservation works on a medieval tower at Newtown Jerpoint benefited from the Heritage Council’s grant scheme in 2011.
A targeted programme to gather information on awareness of invasive species in County Kilkenny engaged with target groups through workshops and a questionnaire, on their understanding, awareness and attitudes to terrestrial invasive species, their potential impacts, their control and eradication. The focus of this project was on invasive plant species that are threatening native species along waterways and roads. This project is phase 1 of a two-phase project.
The Butler Gallery received funding for the conservation of the Butler Gallery Collection. Conservation works included restoration and framing to safeguard the collection, to minimise deterioration and to protect the collection for the future. On completion of the works, the collection will be part of the public realm again.
Newtown Jerpoint received funding for the conservation and stablisation of a medieval tower. Newtown Jerpoint was a medieval borough, which was largely deserted by the end of the 17th century. It is described as exceptionally significant in the Conservation Plan published by the Heritage Council in 2007, as “a rare example of an abandoned medieval town, complete with standing remains and good quality historical documentation.”
Kilkenny Borough Council received funding for phase 3 of the Kilkenny City Walls Talbot’s Tower Project. This involved rebuilding and repairing the stairs (to include a viewing platform), base batter and north wall; re-pointing the external ledge; internal works to the tower; control of Japanese knotweed; and production of the post-excavation report for archeological excavations on Talbot’s Tower.
Talbot’s tower defended the south-west corner of Kilkenny’s Hightown. The tower was strategically sited to take advantage of a low hill and from its parapets there are extensive views in all directions, making it an extremely effective watch-tower.
The tower was known throughout the medieval period as St Patrick’s Tower in reference to the nearby suburb of Domhnachpatrick.
The name Talbot’s Tower is an early-20th-century invention that alludes to Robert Talbot, who was mayor of Kilkenny in the early 15th century and was traditionally credited with having built the city’s walls.
“We were delighted to support so many fantastic projects in Kilkenny this year,” said Heritage Council CEO Michael Starrett. “Projects supported by the Heritage Council have real and significant economic benefits to the Irish economy by creating local jobs and promoting local tourism.
Through this grants scheme, the Heritage Council is ensuring that what makes Ireland distinctive and unique is protected for the future and that the many heritage projects in communities nationwide are receiving the support necessary for them to survive.”
The Heritage Council allocates approximately €3 million annually under the Heritage Grant Scheme to a diverse range of heritage projects across Ireland. In 2010, Heritage Council Grant Projects attracted approximately 18,700 tourists.
“The Heritage Council recognises the significant contribution volunteers make to the protection of the national heritage and many of these projects would not happen without their time and effort. Heritage assets are a key economic resource as they underpin our tourism industry, provide the settings and backdrop to our film industry, support our quality of life and provide us with a sense of identity and place that is vital during these difficult times,” Mr Starrett said.