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01/02/2022 - Grants for farmers to conserve traditional farm buildings

 Grants for farmers to conserve traditional farm buildings image

 

Funds are available for the conservation of County Donegal’s traditional farm buildings under the Traditional Farm Buildings Grant Scheme administered by The Heritage Council in partnership with the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine. Under the Green, Low-Carbon, Agri-Environment Scheme (GLAS), funding is available to help ensure that traditional farm buildings and other structures, that contribute to the character of the landscape and which are of significant heritage value, are conserved for agricultural use. The closing date for receipt of on-line applications to the grant scheme is Tuesday, February 22 at 5 p.m.

 

“Farmers play an important role as custodians of our vernacular farm buildings and rural landscape” explained Joseph Gallagher, County Donegal Heritage Officer. “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. The scheme strongly encourages and supports farmers to carry out at least some of the repairs themselves. It also provides a means of employment in rural areas for local contractors and encourages local craftsmen to learn and apply best conservation practice.”

 

The aim of the Traditional Farm Buildings Grant Scheme is to ensure that traditional farm buildings that contribute to landscape character and are of heritage value are conserved for agricultural use. The grant is available for the conservation of traditional farm buildings including roofs, walls, structural repairs, windows and doors. Grants will also be available for other related structures such as historic yard surfaces and landscape features around the farmyard, walls and wrought-iron farm 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.

 

Virginia Teehan, Chief Executive of The Heritage Council highlighted the importance of the need to support traditional building skills in order to support this work. “The continued existence of this rural built landscape is dependent on there being enough people with traditional building skills to maintain, conserve and repair this finite resource. As well as their inherent cultural heritage value, traditional farm buildings are an integral component of the Irish rural landscape. The use of locally sourced materials naturally connects built structures to their surrounding environments resulting in local and regional characteristics and help serve as contributors to identity. They are lessons in endurance, and we need the skills essential for their repair to endure too. This scheme invests in those crafts people with the skills to maintain this historic building stock for our future. Skills people carry out repairs in accordance with a conservation ethos which recognises and respects the different values that these buildings retain.”

 

“This scheme has been in continuous operation since 2008 as part of a competitive measure embedded within the Department’s agri-environmental schemes” said Charlie McConalogue T.D., Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine.“Itgenerates measurable, publicly-visible results and recognises these buildings as an active contributor to preserving biodiversity, the sustainable use of resources and the mitigation of climate change. It is good to note that so many of these buildings still serve as useful assets for the farm and that it is not just buildings supported but also other built features of our farm heritage. I had the pleasure recently of seeing the works carried out to the walls at the mid-eighteenth century Dunmore Gardens which as well as serving as the boundary to the farm are also on the Donegal Garden Trail. Retaining and using our traditional farm buildings and other built features avoids the mining, quarrying, felling, manufacture and transport of new building materials and the more farmers who renovate and adapt for use on the farm, the less new build will be needed. This contributes to climate change mitigation and the sustainable use of resources and supports farmers in their endeavours to be more climate resilient.”

 

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. With €1.25 million available under the scheme, The Heritage Council estimates that 70-80 projects will be supported countrywide in 2022. Completed applications to the Traditional Farm Buildings Grant Scheme must be made on-line to The Heritage Council in Kilkenny by Tuesday, February 22 at 5 p.m. Further details and application forms are available from The Heritage Council website at: www.heritagecouncil.ie and on (086) 025 9202. Advice to applicants is also available from the County Donegal Heritage Office, Donegal County Council on (074) 917 2576.

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