Old St. Peter's Church & Cemetery, Portlaoise.
Historic Laois towns such as can tap into a new Heritage Council scheme which has up to €1 million in funding to assist regeneration
The Heritage Council says its Historic Towns Initiative heritage can be used to create a desirable place where people can live, visit and do business.
The council says heritage-led regeneration brings economic benefits to enable our historic towns to prosper through increased visitor numbers and decreased numbers of vacant buildings and commercial premises.
The Historic Towns Initiative (HTI) 2018 is a joint undertaking by the Department of Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht and the Heritage Council and builds upon a pilot scheme from 2013-14.
Portlaoise resident Mr Michael Parsons is Chairman of the Heritage Council.
"Programmes such as this rely on the strength of local communities and businesses in caring for their historic town. With support from local and national government we can use heritage to improve the quality of life for all in our historic towns," he said.
Extensive heritage work was carried out Old St Peter's Church and cemetery last year by Portlaoise Tidy Towns and Laois County Council. Watch some of the work here.
Josepha Madigan, TD, Minister for Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht today welcomed the scheme.
"I am delighted to see that the Historic Towns Initiative, which is funded by my Department and operated by the Heritage Council, is now open for applications. This important Initiative will support towns across the country who are engaged in heritage-led regeneration and building on their cultural heritage to drive investment in regeneration and renewal.
Historic towns include those of medieval and pre-medieval foundation, plantation towns, planned estate towns and those established around local industries.
While almost all Irish towns are historic in origin, a town seeking to benefit from the HTI should possess significant cultural and heritage assets and have a distinctive sense of place. Each local authority is invited to apply in respect of one historic town with an indicative minimum population of 1,500 inhabitants. Priority will be given to projects that are ‘plan-led’ and likely to make a meaningful contribution to the heritage-led regeneration of the town.
The HTI 2018 is open for applications from local authorities until Thursday, February 22. Funding applications must be submitted via the Heritage Council’s online grants system. Successful applicants will be informed during week commencing 12 March 2018.
For more information about the Historic Towns Initiative 2018 visit