Conservation cash approved for precious heritage buildings in Laois

Funding announced for conservation of Laois historic buildings

Conor Ganly


Conor Ganly


thatched cottage

Thatched house near Emo rethatched under the Built Heritage Investment Scheme in 2020

Funding has been confirmed for the conservation of small thatched houses to larger country houses.

Minister of State for Heritage and Electoral Reform, Malcolm Noonan, on Thursday, April announced that 477 heritage projects across every county in the country will benefit from a total of €3m under this year’s Built Heritage Investment Scheme (BHIS)

Laois County Council's Laois Heritage Officer confirmed that of this fund, €72,000 has been allocated to 12 projects in Laois as follows:

House, Stradbally - €8,500
Thatch Durrow - €7,000
Thatch Fisherstown - €7,000
Thatch Rathleague €7,000
Thatch Clonaghadooo €6,000
St Paul’s French Church Portarlington €4,000
Thatch Jamestown €3,500
House Mountmellick €10,000
Thatch Ballybodin €1,000
Thatch Graigue €7,000
Thatch Ballacolla €7,000
Forum Mountmellick €4,000.00
Total €72,000.00

Cathaoirleach of Laois County Council, Cllr Catherine Fitzgerald, welcomed the announcement.

“In addition to supporting owners of historic buildings in looking after their properties, this funding will also provide a welcome boost to local construction and heritage trades by facilitating works with a total value of over €15.5m and creating jobs estimated at 19,000 days’ labour.

"Laois County Council is delighted to be able to participate in the Built Heritage Investment Scheme, providing a link between the Department and owners on the ground and getting this funding out to Laois Communities,” she said.

More below picture of conservation work funded by the BHIS underway at St Paul’s French Church Portarlington in 2020

The BHIS is one of two built heritage funding schemes run by the Department of Housing, Local Government and Heritage in association with the 31 Local Authorities. Through grants of up to €15,000, the BHIS 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 is not limited to private dwellings and also provides assistance to a wide range of other important heritage.

Also included under the BHIS 2021 is a continuation of a micro-grant stream introduced in 2020 to increase the resilience of historic structures to withstand the constant effects of climate change. This allows local authorities to make smaller awards to owners of historic properties to carry out routine maintenance to offset the impact of climate change on their buildings.

Minister Noonan said: “I am delighted to announce €3m investment in our built heritage which will assist 477 owners and custodians of historic and protected structures right across the country as they carry out hundreds of small-scale, labour-intensive projects to repair and safeguard our built heritage. These awards will provide much-needed economic stimulus in all 31 local authority areas and will give employment to the many small businesses, skilled conservation specialists and tradespeople involved in heritage-related construction activity. Not only will this €3m funding help sustain specialist heritage businesses while the market recovers, it is also an investment in this Government’s commitment under the Programme for Government to encourage traditional building skills.”

Minister of State for Local Government, Peter Burke, TD, also welcomed the announcement, saying “the success of the Built Heritage Investment Scheme is testament to the close working relationship between the Department and the Local Authorities, particularly the Architectural Conservation Officers, Heritage Officers and planning and administrative staff without whom these schemes would not exist. It is particularly pleasing to see this year’s BHIS fund so many projects in our towns, in line with this Government’s commitment to put Town Centres First.”

Details of awards granted under the Department’s other built heritage scheme, the Historic Structures Fund, will be announced following their assessment in the coming weeks.

The list of all grantees under the 2021 BHIS can be found at release/a61a2-built-heritage- investment-scheme-2021/