Heritage and Conservation

Architectural/Built Heritage

Built Heritage in Cork

There are 1481 structures listed on the Record of Protected Structures in the County Development Plan. These structures include bridges, mansions, shop fronts, post offices, gate lodges, and buildings dating from the 1500s to the 1990s. There are 44 Architectural Conservation Areas identified and listed in the County Development Plan, 2014.

The National Inventory for Architectural Heritage (NIAH) survey is almost completed for the county with only Central Cork remaining and these surveys have already uncovered many more sites of architectural significance around the county. Details on the surveys conducted for West Cork, East Cork and North Cork can be accessed here.

The Heritage Unit's Involvement with Built Heritage

The Heritage Unit has played a huge role in the promotion and protection of the built heritage in County Cork. With a designated Conservation Officer, development proposals are thoroughly assessed to determine their impact, if any, on our built heritage and the Conservation Officer has also overseen the implementation of the Conservation Grant Scheme for many years throughout the county.

The Heritage Unit has supported a number of different Built Heritage projects and initiatives over the years; such as seminars on Architectural Conservation Areas (ACAs) and protected structures, and the production of guidelines on developing and managing ACAs.

Relevant Legislation

The principal legislation that provides protection for our built heritage is the Planning and Development Act, 2000.This Act allows for the listing of important structures in County Development Plans in order to provide for their protection.

Here is a summary of the main points of the Act:

  • Planning authorities are required to maintain a Record of Protected Structures, within the area covered by the plan.
  • These structures must be of special architectural, historical, archaeological, artistic, cultural, scientific, social or technical interest.
  • Local authorities may request owner/occupiers to carry out works to a structure to prevent it from becoming or continuing to be endangered.
  • The local authority may at its discretion assist in the carrying out of works, with advice, financial aid, materials, and equipment or staffing.
  • Local authorities may acquire protected structures through agreement or compulsory purchase order (CPO), if they feel it necessary to do so, to ensure the protection of the structure.
  • The act also provides for the designation of Architectural Conservation Areas.


Other relevant legislation, conventions and agreements include:

(Granada Convention), European Treaty Series no.121, 1985

Architectural Heritage (National Inventory) and Historic Monuments (Misc. Provisions) Act, 1999

The National Monuments Act 1930 and amendments of 19541987,1994 and 2004

The Heritage Act, 1995 


Built Heritage Advice Documents