Eight archaeological monuments in County Donegal are set to benefit from over €300,000 in funding under the Community Monuments Fund announced by Malcolm Noonan T.D., Minister for Heritage & Electoral Reform. The Community Monuments Fund is an initiative by the National Monuments Service of the Department of Housing, Local Government & Heritage in partnership with local authorities.
“The Community Monuments Fund provides 100% funding for the conservation, maintenance, protection and presentation of archaeological monuments and historic sites by private owners, custodians, community groups or local authorities” explained Joseph Gallagher, County Donegal Heritage Officer.
“All of the archaeological monuments funded under this scheme are protected under the National Monuments Acts. Most of the 3,400 known archaeological sites in County Donegal are in private ownership or guardianship so this scheme offers an ideal opportunity to landowners, community groups or local authorities to undertake conservation works to monuments, encourage greater access to them, improve their presentation or build resilience in monuments to enable them to withstand the effects of climate change. There has been great interest in the Community Monuments Fund since it was introduced in 2020 and this is testament to the strength of the heritage sector in County Donegal and the importance of our archaeological heritage to society, tourism and local economies.”
Funding has been allocated to the Donegal GAP Heritage & History Group for restoration works to Doon Fort (€85,000); to Malin Head Community Association for conservation works to Malin Well Old Church in Ballygorman townland, Inishowen (€64,193) and to Killybegs History & Heritage Committee (€44,129) for the continued conservation of St. Catherine’s Church, Killybegs. St. Catherine’s historic graveyard is one of 50 historic graveyards in the guardianship of Donegal County Council.
Funding was also awarded to Raphoe Community in Action (€29,623) for a conservation report on the Bishop’s Palace, Raphoe; to the Ballyshannon Regeneration Group (€20,756) to commission a conservation report on Abbey Assaroe; to Dunkineely Community Ltd. (€18,692) for a conservation plan on McSwyne’s Castle; and to Northburgh Castle Conservation Group (€30,000) for a detailed method statement and tender documentation to Northburgh Castle, Greencastle. Funding was also awarded to Fahan Community Development Partnership (€8,165) to develop an interactive virtual tour of St. Mura’s Graveyard in Fahan and to continue to monitor the stability of St. Mura’s Cross.
All the capital works and reports must be carried out by early October and Donegal County Council’s Heritage Office, County Museum and Conservation Office will advise and support applicants in the delivery of these projects over the coming months. Minister of State for Heritage and Electoral Reform, Malcolm Noonan T.D., said “The increased funding of €6 million to 128 projects will help protect our wonderful archaeological heritage and make it more accessible to the many who cherish it. These awards help us to deliver on various commitments under Heritage Ireland 2030, the new national heritage plan launched earlier this year. It will provide further supports for communities and custodians and the heritage sector, for archaeologists, conservation architects, stone masons, and other professional trades. These projects will also help build resilience against extreme weather and mitigate the impacts of climate change, a priority action embedded in our Climate Adaptation Plan. I want to commend our National Monuments Service for their huge effort in managing the scheme and the Local Authorities for their incredible support in administering applications. I am particularly happy that we are helping to meet the ambition of local communities across Ireland in protecting their archaeological heritage.”
If you would like to find out what known archaeological monuments are in your area, you can consult the National Monuments Service website at www.archaeology.ie Advance consent for any works to, or in the vicinity of, an archaeological monument must be obtained from the National Monuments Service. If you are the owner or guardian of an archaeological monument or historic site or are involved with a community group that would like to conserve your local archaeological heritage, advice is available from the County Donegal Heritage Office by e-mail at email@example.com or on (074) 917 2576.