Funds are available for the conservation of County Donegal’s traditional farm buildings and other related structures from The Heritage Council in partnership with the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine under the Traditional Farm Buildings Grant Scheme.
The funding will be made available countrywide this year for farmers under the Green, Low Carbon, Agri-Environment Scheme (GLAS).
The closing date for receipt of applications to the grant scheme is Friday, May 6, 2016.
GLAS is the new agri-environment scheme for Irish farmers, to which nearly 40,000 farmers have already signed-up, and this new element to that scheme will help ensure that small traditional farm buildings and other structures, which are of significant cultural and heritage value, are restored and conserved for renewed practical agricultural use.
“These buildings have been an integral part of our agricultural heritage for generations, and their contribution to the character and beauty of the Irish landscape cannot be overstated,” said Simon Coveney T.D., acting Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine.
The aim of the Traditional Farm Buildings Grant Scheme is to conserve traditional farm buildings including roofs, outside surface of walls, windows and doors.
Grants will also be available for other related structures such as historic yard surfaces and landscape features around the farmyard such as walls, gate pillars and gates.
To be eligible for the scheme, buildings and other related structures must have architectural or vernacular heritage character and make a contribution to their setting.
“Farmers have always played an important role as custodians of our rural landscape” said Joseph Gallagher, County Donegal Heritage Officer.
“Although the Traditional Farm Buildings Grant Scheme is highly competitive, several farm buildings in County Donegal have benefitted under the scheme in recent years. As well as achieving the aims of GLAS, the Traditional Farm Buildings Grant Scheme allows traditional farm buildings to retain their relevance to agricultural activities, helps to maintain aspects of our rural built heritage which are important to regional landscape character, and conveys rural ways-of-life and local history to visitors and locals alike.”
County Donegal’s farmsteads can include a variety of traditional farm buildings – most of which are eligible under the Traditional Farm Buildings Grant Scheme.
On large farms in the east of the county, an array of farm buildings can be found arranged around a courtyard whereas on small farms in the west of the county, outbuildings may be added to the farmhouse along its long axis producing an extended farmstead or may be distributed in a scattered pattern around the farmhouse.
The Traditional Farm Buildings Grant Scheme is open to farmers who (i) have a GLAS contract with the Department of Agriculture and who are approved for participation in the GLAS scheme and (ii) are the owner of the building/other related structure for which funding is being sought or are acting with the permission of the owner.
The grant will cover up to 75% of the cost of the works. The minimum grant offered will be €4,000 and the maximum amount will be €25,000. Applications to the Traditional Farm Buildings Grant Scheme must be made directly to The Heritage Council in Kilkenny by Friday, May 6, 2016.
Further details and application forms are available from The Heritage Council in Kilkenny on (056) 777 0777. Application forms can also be downloaded from The Heritage Council website at: www.heritagecouncil.ie