National Heritage Delegation Visits Donegal

A delegation from The Heritage Council and the Department of Housing, Local Government & Heritage visited the Historic Towns Initiatives in Ramelton and Ballyshannon recently. The visit came as conservation works began on five historic buildings in The Diamond, Ballyshannon and as it was announced that the Ramelton Historic Towns Initiative was shortlisted for the Chambers Ireland Excellence in Local Government Award in the Heritage & Built Environment category.

“The Historic Towns Initiative National Steering Group members were here to see the progress made under our initiatives in Ballyshannon and Ramelton” explained Joseph Gallagher, County Donegal Heritage Officer. “Over the past four years, we have undertaken Historic Towns Initiatives in Letterkenny, Ramelton and Ballyshannon. The work saw an investment of over €1 million by The Heritage Council and the Department of Housing, Local Government & Heritage and €275,000 by Donegal County Council as well as 30% match funding by local property owners. The initiatives have seen conservation works to seven historic buildings on Church Lane in Letterkenny in 2019, 14 historic buildings in Ramelton in 2020, 12 historic buildings in Ballyshannon in 2021 and a further five historic buildings in Ballyshannon this year.” The Historic Towns Initiatives represents a cross‐directorate partnership between the County Donegal Heritage Office in the Housing, Corporate & Culture Directorate and the Conservation Office in the Community Development & Planning Services Directorate of Donegal County Council.

The Historic Towns Initiative delegation included Ian Doyle (Head of Conservation, The Heritage Council), Jacqui Donnelly (Senior Architect, Built Heritage Policy, Department of Housing, Local Government & Heritage) and Daniel Sinnott (Principal Officer, Built Heritage, Department of Housing, Local Government & Heritage). During their visit, they met with representatives from the Ramelton Georgian Society, the Ballyshannon Regeneration Group, Dedalus Architecture, Donegal County Council and local property owners. This year, The Heritage Council and the Department of Housing, Local Government & Heritage are investing €320,000 and Donegal County Council is investing €100,000 in the conservation of five historic buildings in The Diamond, Ballyshannon.

Every local authority can submit one application to the Historic Towns Initiative each year for a historic town with an indicative population of more than 1,500 inhabitants. The proposed works must be based on a heritage-led or conservation plan-led approach and demonstrate strong community engagement. 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 heritage@donegalcoco.ie

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