THE National Monuments Service is inviting applications to its Community Monuments Fund until Monday, April 12 at 5pm.
The aims of the Community Monuments Fund are the conservation, maintenance, protection and presentation of archaeological monuments by private owners, custodians, community groups or local authorities.
“This is a new funding scheme that ran for the first time last autumn,” said Joseph Gallagher, County Donegal Heritage Officer.
“The scheme allows for projects that enable conservation works to be carried out on archaeological monuments in need of urgent support or projects that encourage access to archaeological monuments and improve their presentation or projects that build resilience in our archaeological monuments to enable them to withstand the effects of climate change.
“With over 3,400 known archaeological monuments in County Donegal – most of which are in private ownership or guardianship – and up to 100 per cent funding available for projects, there is likely to be lots of interest in the scheme.”
Up to €2 million is available nationwide under the scheme and there are three streams of funding available:
Stream 1 offers grants up to €85,000 aimed at essential repairs and capital works for the conservation and repair of archaeological monuments.
Stream 2 offers grants of up to €30,000 for the development of conservation reports or conservation management plans that are aimed at identifying measures for the conservation of archaeological monuments and improving public access.
Stream 3 offers grants of up to €30,000 for the enhancement of access infrastructure and interpretation (including virtual/on-line interpretation) at archaeological monuments.
“Projects can involve archaeological monuments in public ownership or those in private ownership where there is a tangible public benefit,” said Collette Beattie, Conservation Officer, Donegal County Council.
“Applications must be submitted to Donegal County Council in the first instance by the deadline of Monday, April 12. Each local authority must then assess the applications and put a small number of the strongest applications forward to the National Monuments Service of the Department of Housing, Local Government & Heritage for consideration.
“Under the first year of the scheme last year, three projects were funded in County Donegal. Funding was secured for monitoring of, and further research on, St. Mura’s Cross, Fahan by Fahan Community Council (€2,360), conservation works to Rathmullan Abbey by Donegal County Council, Rathmullan Development Group and Rathmullan and District History Society (€42,000) and the preparation of a conservation plan for Killydonnell Friary and historic graveyard by Donegal County Council (€15,000).”
“We have a responsibility towards our heritage and to those who care for it,” said Malcolm Noonan T.D., Minister for Heritage & Electoral Reform.
“When we established the Community Monuments Fund in 2020, we did so with the objective of supporting the heritage sector and providing an effective way of assisting local authorities and custodians in protecting Ireland’s remarkable yet vulnerable archaeological heritage.
“We must also do all we can to nurture and support communities across the land who devote their time and energy to the protection of their local heritage. This investment will help to ensure that our archaeological heritage across the nation continues to enrich all of our lives as we emerge from this crisis.”