Schemes for the protection of architectural and archaeological heritage in County Cork

The County of Cork is steeped in built and archaeological heritage with close to 3,000 protected structures; over 50 Architectural Conservation Areas and over 19,000 recorded archaeological monuments. 

Owners and Custodians of this heritage are now being invited to apply for funding to safeguard these structures and archaeological monuments into the future, through the 2023 Community Monuments Fund; Built Heritage Investment Scheme and Historic Structures Fund. These are national schemes, operated at the local level by each Local Authority and in the case of the county of Cork, it is Cork County Council’s Heritage Unit and Conservation Office that administer the schemes. 

Each scheme has benefited the county’s heritage significantly in the last number of years. The Community Monuments Fund, for example, which has been operating annually since its establishment in 2020, has seen an investment of close to half a million Euro (€481K) for 10 different archaeological sites in County Cork. 

The operation of the three schemes in 2023 sees a combined national fund of €15m: €4.5m for the Historic Structures Fund; €4.5m for the Built Heritage Investment Scheme and €6m for the Community Monuments Fund. It should be noted that the 2023 Built Heritage Investment Scheme will include ring-fenced funding of €500,000 for conservation repairs to thatched structures to maximise the availability of financial assistance to such owners. It is expected these schemes will support hundreds of projects and create over 50,000 days of employment for skilled conservation professionals, archaeologists and craftspeople.

The deadline for applications is 16:00 on Tuesday, 31st January 2023, and the details regarding each scheme are as follows:

Schemes for the protection of architectural and archaeological heritage in County Cork

Project supports will range from a minimum of €2,500 to a maximum of €15,000 per application. This scheme will support small-scale conservation projects and support the employment of skilled and experienced conservation professionals, craftspeople and tradespersons in the repair of the historic built environment.

  1. Built Heritage Investment Scheme Circular 2023
  2. Built Heritage Investment Scheme Application Form 2023

Additional Guidance

The primary focus of the Historic Structures Fund will be on conservation and enhancement of historic structures and buildings for the broader benefit of communities and the public.

Stream 1

Will offer grants from €15,000 up to €50,000 and is aimed at essential repairs and smaller capital works for the refurbishment and conservation of heritage structures.

Stream 1

Historic Shopfronts substream – To incentivise the conservation of historic shop fronts, each Local Authority is invited to submit an additional application under Stream 1 for eligible essential repairs and small capital works for the refurbishment and conservation of historic shop facades, windows, signage and other associated details to safeguard them and keep them in use. Local Authorities are also invited to make an additional application for Irish-Language shopfronts. 

Stream 2

Will offer a small number of grants from €50,000 up to €200,000 for larger enhancement, refurbishment or reuse projects involving heritage structures, where: 

a. A clear community or public benefit has been demonstrated, or 

b. A clear residential benefit has been demonstrated (such projects must be advanced through the planning process as necessary).

A grant of over €200,000 may be awarded in exceptional circumstances where a case is made by the applicant in relation to the significance of the project and the works proposed.

Vernacular Structures Stream

In the context of the forthcoming strategy for built vernacular, the pilot stream for vernacular structures introduced in 2021 will be retained, with increased funding of €150,000. The purpose of the stream is to support conservation repairs and small capital works to vernacular structures that are not listed in local authority Records of Protected Structures or otherwise legally protected. Such structures may be located within an Architectural Conservation Area. All local authorities can apply for funding for specific projects of between €5,000 and €10,000 for eligible projects.

The relevant details are as follows:

  1. Historic Structure Fund Circular 2023
  2. Historic Structure Fund Application Form 2023

Additional Guidance

The Community Monuments Fund will enable conservation works to be carried out on archaeological monuments, which are deemed to be significant and in need of urgent support. It aims to build resilience in monuments enabling them to withstand the effects of climate change. The fund also aims to encourage access to monuments and improve their presentation. The Scheme has three streams of funding, all of which offer up to 100% of eligible costs.

Stream 1

Grants up to €100,000 for essential repairs and capital works for the conservation of archaeological monuments.

Stream 2

Grants of up to €30,000 for the development of Conservation Management Plans/Reports and detailed Specification of Works aimed at identifying measures for conservation of archaeological monuments and improving public access. 

Stream 3

Grants of up to €30,000 for the enhancement of access infrastructure and interpretation (including virtual/online) at archaeological monuments

The relevant details are as follows:

  1. Community Monuments Fund Handbook 2023
  2. Community Monuments Fund Application Form 2023

Submission of Applications

Applications may be made as follows

Hard copies are to be addressed to the Built Heritage Investment Scheme or Historic Structure Fund, Cork County Council, Conservation Office, Floor 3, Planning Department, County Hall, Cork, and in the case of the Community Monuments Fund, applications to be titled Community Monuments Fund 2023, addressed to:

Cork County Council,
Heritage Unit, Floor 3,
Planning Department,
County Hall, Cork.

Applications may also be made electronically (encouraged) and for more information in this regard email:

The deadline for submission of completed applications is 16:00 on Tuesday, 31st of January 2023. Late applications and/or incomplete applications will not be accepted. It is anticipated that the outcome of applications will be made known by the end of April 2023.