Heritage Council


The Heritage Council’s mission is to engage, educate and advocate to develop a wider understanding of the vital contribution that our heritage makes to our social, environmental and economic well-being.

What Do We Do?

Some of the Work We Do

Grant Giving
In previous years, 80% of the Heritage Council’s annual budget was allocated to a wide range of heritage grants, county heritage projects and a range of heritage organisations. For every €1 spent by the Heritage Council, the Irish tourism industry receives €4.4 through increased tourism revenues. However due to additional budget cuts, the grants scheme is suspended for 2013.

Heritage Officer Programme
The Heritage Council has links with 28 counties through its Heritage Officer Programme which it part funds with Local Authorities. A €6.15m investment in County Heritage Plans (2004 — 2008) supported the creation of 1,012 full-time jobs in small businesses, with an estimated return of €30.1m to the economy. (Based on research undertaken by independent economist, Jim Power.)

Conservation Initiatives
Through initiatives such as the Irish Walled Towns Network, the Museums Standards Programme for Ireland and the REPS4 Traditional Farm Buildings Scheme the Heritage Council supports the conservation and care of some of our most valuable heritage assets.

Education Initiatives
Through schemes such as the Heritage in Schools Scheme and National Heritage Week, the Heritage Council promotes greater public awareness of the value of maintaining and protecting our natural and built heritage.

Policy Advice
The Heritage Council originates, promotes and advises Government on policy relating to sustainability, landscape management, high nature value farming, forestry, and climate change. Implementation of these policies has resulted in the establishment of the Heritage Officer Network, the National Biodiversity Data Centre, work on the Water Corridor Studies and the Landscape and Village Design Statements among others.

Supporting Research
The Heritage Council established the National Biodiversity Data Centre (NBDC) in 2007. NBDC provides a national strategic focus for data collection, and ensures that comprehensive and reliable data are available to inform public policy and for use by researchers and conservationists. Council also provides core-funding to the State archaeological research body - The Discovery Programme. The programme has a European reputation for technological innovation in areas such as landscape survey, laser scanning and IT. The Council also commissions independent research, such as that recently undertaken on the economic value of Ireland’s historic environment.

Some of our Current Initiatives

Community-Led Village Design Statements

Field Monument Advisor Scheme

Heritage in Schools Scheme

Irish Walled Towns Network (IWTN)

National Heritage Week

Museum Standards Programme for Ireland (MSPI)

High Nature Value Farming in the West of Ireland

REPS4 Traditional Farm Buildings Scheme (Funded by the Dept. Agriculture, Food and the Marine)

Walled Town Capital Conservation Projects

Core Funding

We provide core-funding to the following organisations:

Discovery Programme

Irish Landmark Trust

Irish Walled Towns Network (IWTN)

National Biodiversity Data Centre (NBDC)

Woodlands of Ireland

Wicklow Uplands Council

Supporting Employment, Education & Tourism in Local Communities

Supporting Employment

Recent research commissioned by the Heritage Council suggests that in 2010, €6.2m of Heritage Council grant-support supported 449 jobs across the country. This research also indicates that the historic environment directly supports over 30,000 jobs and contributes in excess of €1 billion to the economy (Ecorys Consultants). Additionally, Heritage Council investment in County Heritage Plans between 2004 and 2008 supported the creation of 1,012 full-time jobs. A wider network of highly skilled heritage jobs including conservators, thatchers, builders, ecologists, archaeologists, conservation architects and museum curators are also supported through training, bursaries and initiatives.

Supporting Education

Education is at the heart of the Heritage Council's work programme. In 2011, the Heritage in Schools Scheme facilitated 1,595 school visits reaching 118,620 children. 80% were outdoor events, ensuring a greater appreciation by children of natural and cultural heritage. Through National Heritage Week, the Heritage Council promotes greater public awareness of the value of maintaining and protecting our natural and built heritage. The Heritage Council also supports education and awareness-raising initiatives through its grants programme. Council is currently looking to expand our commitment to third-level education by developing, in partnership with third-level institutes, qualifications in Landscape Character and in Biological Recording.

Supporting Tourism

In 2010, 2.9 million overseas visitors engaged in cultural activities in Ireland (Fáilte Ireland). Cultural tourism and activity holidays based on our natural landscapes and countryside continues to grow, out-performing all other tourism sectors. This growth requires ongoing investment in national heritage if the quality of what is being marketed is to be sustained. The Heritage Council supports this continued growth through its grants schemes, core-funding provision, education, policy and research initiatives.