Minister of State for Heritage and Electoral Reform; Malcolm Noonan has announced funding for this year’s Historic Structures Fund and the good news is that three Kilkenny city projects are included in the allocation.
Rothe House is to receive €50,000, Shee Alms House on Rose Inn Street is to receive €150,000 over two years and Tynan’s Bridge House Bar is to receive €15,000 under a new element of the fund for heritage shopfronts.
Rose Cottage in Johnswell is also a recipient of €10,000 to repair the corrugated roof structure. Shankill Castle received €50,000, The Heritage Council €42,500 and Kells House €37,000.
‘I’m really delighted to be able to announce this funding for these important heritage buildings in County Kilkenny; all of which contribute to our cultural and built heritage assets and create many days of work in traditional building skills and conservation work’ said Minister Noonan.
‘The Historic Structures Fund is one of a suite of built heritage funding streams that we lead out in our department and is targeted at bringing our built heritage stock up to a high standard of conservation, repurposing buildings, consolidating the heritage led regeneration of our town and village centres and adding to our knowledge base of the construction of traditional and vernacular buildings’.
‘Both Rothe House and Shee Alms House are an important but in my view insufficiently told story of the great merchant families of Kilkenny, the great houses they built and their connection to the political and economic life of medieval kilkenny. It is vitally important that we support the conservation of these buildings and down the line I would like to see some further work on interpreting the great Renaissance houses hidden behind more recent interventions’.
In addition to supporting owners and custodians of historic and protected structures to safeguard and maintain their properties, this funding will also provide a welcome boost to local construction and heritage trades by facilitating works with a total value of almost €9 million and leveraging an estimated 13,000 days’ labour.
The announcement follows that of €3 million in funding under the Department’s other built heritage grant scheme, the Built Heritage Investment Scheme, by Minister Noonan earlier this month and comes as the phased return of construction works gets underway. All funded works under both schemes must, of course, be carried out in full compliance with Government/HSE guidance on Covid-19.
Commenting on the announcement, Minister for Housing, Local Government and Heritage, Darragh O’Brien, TD, said:
‘I am equally delighted to be announcing today, along with my colleague Minister Noonan, this investment of €3m across a range of projects, nationwide, under the Historic Structures Fund. These schemes help to safeguard our rich built heritage, keeping many buildings in use and helping to bring many others back into use. The awards announced today also have a welcome knock-on economic benefit by generating employment for heritage contractors and other skilled crafts and tradespeople across the country.’
Through grants of between €15,000 and €200,000, the HSF assists owners of heritage structures – including those on the local authorities’ Record of Protected Structures and those in Architectural Conservation Areas – to meet their obligations to care for their properties. The scheme provides assistance to a wide range of heritage structures – this year’s HSF includes awards to historic bridges, barns, courthouses, churches, shopfronts and a dry stone wall as well as to private houses.
Also included under the HSF 2021 are two pilot streams, one for the conservation of vernacular buildings and another for the conservation of historic shopfronts.
The vernacular pilot stream has been introduced in the context of the Department’s forthcoming Vernacular Strategy. Vernacular structures are the buildings and other built features of the informal or vernacular landscape, conceived and built by ordinary people, as opposed to those in authority. Vernacular builders used ideas and techniques passed down within the family and local community, making the vernacular a significant part of our intangible cultural heritage. Following assessment, six vernacular structures – including a dry stone wall and a number of cottages – will receive grant aid through the HSF this year.
The introduction of the shopfront pilot stream gives recognition to traditional shopfronts as a rich part of our built environment and historic townscapes. Under this stream, owners were invited to apply for funding to support works including the repair of historic shutters or awnings, signage, gates tiled or mosaic threshold panels and hanging signs as well as the removal of unsightly and redundant later additions such as cabling, lighting and signage. Following assessment, five shopfronts – including iconic pharmacies, Price’s Medical Hall on Dublin’s Clare Street and DW Parke on Gladstone Street, Clonmel – will receive grant aid through the HSF this year.
Nine larger projects awarded funding over two years under HSF 2020 will also be funded out of this year’s €3 million allocation.
Minister of State for Local Government, Peter Burke, TD, also welcomed the announcement, stating:
‘As with the Built Heritage Investment Scheme, the success of the Historic Structures Fund is a result of the close working relationship between the Department and the Local Authorities, particularly the Architectural Conservation Officers, Heritage Officers and planning and administrative staff who make these schemes possible. I am particularly pleased to note the introduction of a stream for historic shopfronts, investing in our historic townscapes in line with this Government’s commitment of putting Town Centres First.’
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