A grant scheme designed to provide assistance to farmers involved in conserving and securing Ireland’s traditional farm buildings is now open to applications for 2017. The scheme results from a partnership between The Heritage Council and the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine.
Grants are offered under the GLAS Traditional Farm Buildings Scheme for approved conservation works to the exterior of farm outbuildings as well as associated structures such as historic yard surfaces, walls, and gates.
The maximum grant is around €25,000 while the smallest is €4,000. Heritage Council project manager Anna Meenan said the scheme offers a rare and positive opportunity to safeguard the rural built and natural heritage and protect the special qualities of the traditional farmstead, while also allowing it to continue in active use.
Since 2009, the scheme has invested in the conservation of over 200 traditional farm buildings, making a significant contribution to the enhancement of the Irish countryside. The farm buildings chosen play a positive role in the country’s scenery.
“They are witness to our long-lasting relationship with the land, and are a part of who we are. If we lose these wonderful diverse buildings, our landscape will be all the duller.
“We strongly encourage and support farmers to carry out at least some of the repairs themselves,” she said.
Ms Meehan said that connecting owners with their buildings in this way enhances their ‘hands on’ knowledge to continue repairs to the building well into the future, as well as other buildings on the farm.
“It also provides a means of employment in rural areas for local contractors, many of whom have had the opportunity to upskill under the scheme, increasing the availability of these craft skills in the local area,” she said.
Application forms, terms and conditions are available on the Heritage Council website www.heritagecouncil.ie. The closing date for applications is 5pm, November 18.
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