Wildlife, local economies and tourism in Wicklow are set to benefit from Heritage Council funding of €97,100 for seven individual projects.
The Heritage Council’s Community Heritage Grant Scheme will help to conserve and restore built, cultural and natural heritage throughout the county.
Work on these projects can begin immediately which will see local communities enriched through initiatives, from making previously unseen works of art available to the public, to equipping local communities with skills needed to protect biodiversity, to making landmarks of national significance accessible again. The projects will all be completed by the end of the year.
The projects to receive funding in County Wicklow include the Glencree Centre for Peace and Reconciliation which will be offered €20,000 to design a high quality, dynamic interpretation and visitors experience which will share the rich heritage of the Glencree site with the community in creative and accessible ways.
The Rathnew Heritage Group will use its funding of €19,457 to create a Wicklow Community Archival Heritage film featuring hitherto unused footage captured by Mr JT O’Byrne, former Wicklow County Engineer and also the General Secretary for the Wicklow RNLI.
The footage shows his interests in engineering works, mining, lifeboat material, harbour life, political and religious events. The film will be made by the Glenealy IT students who will be taught the skills of digitisation, editing, sound and documentary making.
Birdwatch Ireland is getting €19,500 for a Coast Nature Reserve project while the Arklow Town Team is receiving funding of €14,000 for the Arklow Pottery Online project.
Avoca Parish Finance Committee will spend its grant of €9,600 on conservation work at St Mary’s and St Patrick’s Church. Rewild Wicklow will spend €8,500 on Phase 2 of the Barnaculian Ridge Peatland Restoration and Roundwood and District Historical Archaeological and Folklore Society is receiving €5,953 to fund its Castlekevin project.
Cllr Tommy Annesley, Cathaoirleach of Wicklow County Council, welcomed the funding announcement stating: “This investment from The Heritage Council in seven community heritage projects in County Wicklow represents an investment of €97,100 in our natural, built and cultural heritage and all the groups who work tirelessly to protect it.”
Emer O’Gorman, Chief Executive, Wicklow County Council, also welcomed the diversity of groups and projects funded and praised all those involved.
Minister of State for Heritage and Electoral Reform, Malcolm Noonan, TD, said: “Every year, I love to see the creativity and dedication of our heritage sector through these projects from the Community Heritage Grant Scheme. It reminds me that despite the challenges we face, our heritage remains in safe hands. It is a truly valuable scheme and is also a significant investment in this Government’s commitments under the Programme for Government to promote and protect our heritage.”
Chairperson of The Heritage Council, Martina Moloney, stated: “Heritage Council funding for the Community Heritage Grant Scheme has more than tripled since 2020 and the quality of the projects awarded funding is ample justification for this enhanced support. In many cases, the beneficiaries of the work being carried out is the public, who will be able to access newly digitised resources and enjoy newly restored buildings, objects and natural heritage sites of national significance.”
Virginia Teehan, Chief Executive, The Heritage Council, commented: “Our recently published Strategic Plan, Our Place in Time, acknowledges the pivotal role that community groups play as custodians of our national heritage and we are committed to ensuring that funding streams are in place to support communities to care for heritage and habitats. We will continue to run the Community Heritage Grant Scheme but will also develop new schemes which adapt to the needs of the sector as they evolve. For now, though, I wish to congratulate all the grantees and look forward to seeing the fruits of your labour later in the year.”