Deenihan Initiates Revival of Heritage Towns
Youghal Chosen to Pilot New Heritage Towns Initiative
Jimmy Deenihan TD, Minister for Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht, hosted a significant forum, (Thursday 26th April 2012) involving a range of groups, to kick-start the development of a new Historic Towns Initiative for Ireland.
The forum was designed to stimulate an active debate and discussion between key stakeholders to outline how a new Historic Towns Initiative could work and to seek agreement on a way forward for a pilot scheme to test the initiative. Addressing the forum were representatives from the Department of Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht, the Heritage Council, Fáilte Ireland, the Department of Environment, Community and Local Government and other stakeholders.
The main outcome of this forum has been the agreement to pilot a new Heritage Towns Initiative in three towns this year: Youghal (Cork), Westport (Mayo) and Listowel (Kerry). The Heritage Council and Fáilte Ireland will be the lead implementation partners working with the Department of Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht.
The core aim of the Heritage Towns Initiative will be to conserve and protect and find new uses where required for the built heritage of the participating historic towns whilst also maximising the economic value of tourism in each location. The Heritage Towns Initiative will promote heritage-led urban regeneration policies which are increasingly common throughout Europe. A number of international projects have been completed which will provide useful case studies for Ireland in establishing this pilot scheme and which also demonstrate the heritage and economic potential that exists in schemes of this type.
Jimmy Deenihan TD, Minister for Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht commented: “Ireland’s historic towns are a significant attraction for visitors to this country who have an interest in culture and heritage. The Programme for Government recognises the importance of promoting cultural tourism, and the conservation and protection of the architectural heritage assets in our historic towns is vitally important in establishing and developing a quality tourism product.”
“The pilot of the Heritage Towns Initiative will aim to preserve existing heritage assets, stimulate heritage-led regeneration and add to the tourism offering of these locations. The needs of the communities that live in participating towns will remain core to the process.”
“Fáilte Ireland and the Heritage Council will now commence working on the introduction of this pilot scheme in these three towns. I look forward to seeing this pilot scheme in place and – pending its successful implementation – rolling out this initiative in more locations across Ireland.”
Related Video: Archaeological Discovery at Church Street, Youghal