€1m Funding Announced For 2020 Historic Towns Initiative

Funding of €1 million has been announced for the 2020 Historic Towns Initiative for heritage-led regeneration in our historic towns.

The Historic Towns Initiative (HTI) 2020 is a joint undertaking by the Department and the Heritage Council. It builds upon the successful HTI 2018 and 2019 projects, which together funded conservation-led projects in twelve towns across the country.

Boyle, Roscommon, was among the six towns which received funding in 2019. Others included Kilrush, County Clare, Navan, County Meath, Nenagh, County Tipperary, Ballina, County Mayo and Letterkenny, Co. Donegal.

Roscommon County Council was awarded €140,000 for the Main Street Boyle project and provided an opportunity to complete certain essential maintenance works to buildings on the south side of Main Street with matching funding from Roscommon County Council and the property owners. The nineteenth century buildings are primarily three-storey terraces with residences over commercial premises. Main Street leads directly into the eighteenth century King House and is on the approach to the Boyle medieval Cistercian abbey. Main Street possesses a variety of Victorian and modern shopfronts. A total of 10 property owners proceeded with the scheme. The works have been beneficial to the overall town. Main Street is now being returned to its original grandeur and its heritage is once again exposed for people to see and enjoy.

Making the announcement, Minister for Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht, Josepha Madigan, said: "I am delighted to launch another year of the Historic Towns Initiative, which will support the regeneration of even more Irish historic towns. This Initiative will make €1 million available to a number of towns which will in turn help drive investment and renewal."

Heritage-led regeneration can breathe new life into a town, helping to provide an attractive environment where people can live and work. The renewed vibrancy in the heart of a town brings its own economic benefits as footfall and visitor numbers increases and new light shines into once-vacant commercial and residential premises.

Commenting on the Historic Towns Initiative, Chairman of the Heritage Council, Mr Michael Parsons said: "Programmes such as this rely on the strength of local communities and businesses in caring for their historic town. With support from local and national government we can use heritage to improve the quality of life for all in our historic towns."

A town seeking to benefit from the Historic Towns Initiative should possess significant cultural and heritage assets and have an indicative minimum population of 1,500 inhabitants.

The HTI 2020 is open for applications from local authorities from 5 December 2019. Funding applications must be submitted via the Heritage Council's online grants system. The closing date is 7 February 2020.

The Heritage Council will host a workshop for local authority personnel interested in applying for the HTI 2020 in its offices in Kilkenny on 10 January 2020.


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