The grant scheme is run in partnership with the Heritage Council and invests in the conservation of traditional farm buildings and structures of significant heritage value that contribute to our rural landscape for agricultural use.

The scheme funds the conservation and preservation of traditional farm buildings and structures such as historic yard surfaces, gates and gate pillars as part of the working farm. Many of the supported structures also provide roosting sites for bats and nesting sites for birds.

Commenting, Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Charlie McConalogue TD said:

I was delighted to secure €1.25 million in the budget once again for this grant scheme which supports farmers who wish to secure their historic buildings for us on their farm. Today’s announcement demonstrates both mine and the Government’s commitment to investing in our farming heritage using conservation methods.

This is a hugely important scheme for conserving the past for the demands of the future. It is more than securing a building – it is about preserving a history, a culture and a way of life. The partnership between the Department and the Heritage Council has been critical to the success of this scheme and is an example of how two entities with very different missions can pool resources and expertise to deliver a scheme to a level that neither could achieve alone.

I have seen first-hand completed projects and I know farmers who have benefited under the scheme have a much better appreciation of their own cultural and natural heritage. I encourage all eligible participants to consider applying for it and look forward to seeing further completed projects later this year.

Chief Executive of the Heritage Council, Virginia Teehan commented:

The Heritage Council is very pleased to be administering this innovative scheme that by securing the historic building stock also recognises the role these buildings play as wildlife habitats and as contributors to our rural landscape. We know that many of these buildings can support a great diversity of wildlife, including species of conservation concern and this scheme works with farmers to support, enhance and safeguard the wildlife inhabiting these buildings.

This grant scheme also actively supports the retention of traditional building skills in Ireland and a particularly satisfying impact uncovered in the evaluation is the increased awareness amongst farmers of their value and their readiness to use them in the future with 96% of farmers surveyed more inclined now to use traditional craftworkers if they needed special works done. This is an impact for the sector with real longevity.

The closing date for receipt of online applications is Monday, 24th April 2023 at 5pm and the scheme’s terms and conditions and the online application form are available at https://www.heritagecouncil.ie/

Welcoming the news, Minister Rabbitte said:

Vernacular building refers to the traditional architecture and construction techniques that are specific to a particular region, community, or culture. It is characterised by the use of local materials, building techniques, and design principles that have been developed over time in response to the specific environmental, cultural, and social conditions of a region.

Vernacular buildings are often built by local craftsmen and builders who have inherited the knowledge and skills of their ancestors. They may use natural materials such as mud, wood, stone, or thatch, which are readily available in the local environment. The design and layout of vernacular buildings are often based on local climate and geography, as well as cultural and social practices.

Vernacular building is an important part of our cultural heritage and can provide valuable insights into the history, traditions, and way of life of a particular community. It is also an important source of sustainable building practices that can help to reduce the environmental impact of construction by using locally sourced materials and traditional techniques.

Farm buildings built in the vernacular, those that were built by ordinary people, rather than builders or architects, will be targeted under this strategy.  The new strategy will seek to improve understanding of  what vernacular is why it is important.

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