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Historic Towns Initiative, Church Lane, Letterkenny

View of Church Lane, Letterkenny


Church Lane in Letterkenny’s Cathedral Quarter is set to be transformed following the announcement that The Heritage Council is to invest €200,000 in a heritage-led regeneration initiative in the town this year.  The Heritage Office and Conservation Office of Donegal County Council in partnership with the Letterkenny Cathedral Quarter Committee, Dedalus Architecture and the local community and landowners were awarded €200,000 under The Heritage Council’s Historic Towns Initiative.  The funding award was the largest amount awarded to any of the six successful historic towns across Ireland under this year’s scheme.  The award will be augmented with €40,000 in funding from Donegal County Council as well as private investment by property owners along Church Lane.


“The funding is recognition of the outstanding voluntary efforts of the Letterkenny Cathedral Quarter Committee over the past five years and of the potential of Letterkenny’s historic built environment to support economic regeneration” said Joseph Gallagher, County Donegal Heritage Officer.  “Letterkenny has a proud history and this is manifest in its historic buildings.  The Historic Towns Initiative is local authority and local community-led and has heritage considerations at its heart.  Experience has shown that places that have a strong civic pride in their historic buildings, employ best conservation practice, and make wise land-use decisions are those that make the most attractive places to live, work and visit.  We hope that the Historic Towns Initiative in Church Lane will inspire other heritage-led initiatives in Letterkenny and elsewhere in the county.”


Church Lane is a vital artery that links Letterkenny’s Main Street with the Cathedral Square.  “The conservation works planned under the Historic Towns Initiative include roof and chimney repairs, installation of cast-iron rainwater goods, reinstatement of timber sash windows and doors, and the repair of a historic shopfront using traditional materials and informed by best conservation practice” said Collette Beattie, Conservation Officer, Donegal County Council.  “In our application, we worked closely with Donnan Harvey and the Cathedral Quarter Committee and grade one conservation architect Duncan McLaren of Dedalus Architecture.  The initiative also has the support of the local residents and businesses and seven historic properties will benefit from the works as will the historic streetscape.  The works will be completed by November and we look forward to working with all these stakeholders to ensure that the initiative is a success.”


Five other towns countrywide benefitted under this year’s Historic Towns Initiative:  Ballina, County Mayo (€140,000), Boyle, County Roscommon (€140,000), Kilrush, County Clare (€190,000), Navan, County Meath (€160,000) and Nenagh, County Tipperary (€170,000).  “These towns have come through a very tough competitive process where all applications were of a high standard” said Josepha Madigan T.D., Minister for Culture, Heritage & the Gaeltacht.  “The funding will support the towns in their programmes of heritage-led regeneration and bring economic benefits to help our historic towns to prosper through increased visitor numbers and decreased numbers of vacant buildings and commercial premises.” 


Every local authority can submit one application to the Historic Towns Initiative each year.  “Each of the successful towns submitted a plan-led application with a clear vision, clearly achievable actions and the promise of strong public engagement” explained Virginia Teehan, the new Chief Executive of The Heritage Council.  “I hope that the success of this year’s round of projects will inspire others to explore the heritage potential of their towns in future years” said Michael Parsons, Chair of The Heritage Council.  If you think that your town meets or is working towards meeting the criteria for the Historic Towns Initiative, please contact the County Donegal Heritage Office on (074) 917 2576 or by e-mail at [email protected]