The historic built environment of Sligo will receive much-needed support and investment following the announcement of a heritage-led €1.5m fund which will provide a jobs boost and an economic stimulus for 10 towns around Ireland.
Sligo to benefit from Major Historic Towns Initiative
The Heritage Council, along with Minister Darragh O’Brien TD and Minister of State Malcolm Noonan TD, announced a list of nominated towns that will share a €1.5m fund.
The Heritage Council’s Historic Towns Initiative (HTI) 2021 will help to rebuild local economies with heritage as a focal point. Counties included in this year’s scheme are Kerry, Donegal, Mayo, Roscommon, Sligo, Waterford, Offaly, Wexford, Meath and Kilkenny. Local authorities were invited to propose projects for heritage-led regeneration in their area. The programme is a joint initiative between the Department of Housing, Local Government and Heritage, and the Heritage Council.
Sligo County Council submitted an application for HTI funding to continue the Heritage Led Regeneration of O’Connell Street (Phase 2). The Heritage Office of Sligo County Council in partnership with the property owners and key stakeholders were successful in securing €200,000 under the Historic Towns Initiative 2021. The award is being further supported with €50,000 in funding from Sligo County Council as well as private investment from property owners.
Welcoming the funding announcement, Cathaoirleach of Sligo County Council Councillor Dara Mulvey said:
“I am delighted that Sligo has been again been successful in securing funding under the Historic Towns Initiative 2021. The support of the Department and the Heritage Council is critical to Sligo as it provides vital investment in heritage led regeneration that will strengthen the historic town centre. We can achieve a lot collaboratively and the Historic Towns Initiative will support heritage led regeneration, the retention of traditional building skills and will secure the future of Sligo’s historic buildings and streetscapes for the benefit of all”.
Chair of Sligo Heritage Forum, Councillor Dónal Gilroy also welcomed the announcement saying:
“There is a growing recognition that the survival and successful regeneration of our towns and villages needs to be based on, and informed by, an appreciation of and investment in our built heritage. The Historic Towns Initiative is local authority, business and local community-led and has heritage considerations at its heart. Our experience in 2020 of delivering a HTI project within O’Connell Street Sligo has shown that places that have a strong civic pride in their historic buildings, make the most attractive places to live, work and visit.”
Siobhán Ryan, Heritage Officer with Sligo County Council outlined that funding has been secured for the Heritage led regeneration of O’Connell Street, Sligo (Phase 2) and added that the project will see Sligo County Council working in partnership with local property owners and key stakeholders to conserve the historic built environment and to facilitate sustainable heritage-led regeneration within Sligo's historic core. Seven historic buildings in O’Connell Street, Sligo will benefit from the Historic Towns Initiative in 2021. The conservation works planned include roof and chimney repairs, installation of cast-iron rainwater goods, reinstatement of timber sash windows and doors, the repair and reinstatement of historic shop fronts using traditional materials and informed by best conservation practice.
In the grant application, Sligo County Council worked closely with Duncan McLaren of Dedalus Architecture, a Grade 1 Conservation Architect based in Donegal. The initiative has the support of building owners, key stakeholders, residents, businesses and community groups. The works will be completed by November 2021.
The Sligo Historic Towns Initiative contributes to the achievement of the Sligo City Public Realm Plan and will complement the works being undertaken through the O’Connell Street Enhancement Programme. All seven buildings that are the subject of the Sligo Historic Towns Initiative are Protected Structures or are included in the O’Connell Street Architectural Conservation Area (ACA). A Protected Structure is a structure that is protected under the Planning & Development Act and is considered to be special architectural, historical, archaeological, artistic, cultural, scientific, social or technical interest.
Virginia Teehan, the Chief Executive of the Heritage Council commented:
“The Heritage Council is very pleased to, once again, administer the Historic Towns Initiative in 2021. Working with local authority partners and communities on heritage-led regeneration is an important Heritage Council priority and we very much look forward to working with Minister O’Brien, Minister of State Noonan and the Department of Housing, Local Government and Heritage in this, and all aspects, of the care of our rich heritage.”
Mr Michael Parsons, Heritage Council chairman, added:
“It is wonderful to be in a position to support such a range of projects across the country. These projects, taken together, give a flavour of the variety of heritage initiatives that can be undertaken to care for Ireland’s historic towns. The Heritage Council is delighted that the Minister has continued to support this joint initiative. I hope that the success of this year’s round of projects will inspire others to care for the heritage of their towns in future years.”