*Terret Lodge. Photograph: Kilrush & District Historical Society
Kilrush has been named as one of the six successful towns to receive funds from the 2019 Historic Towns Initiative.
Funding of €190,000 has been set aside for the conservation of Terret Lodge as the 1845 built structure will be converted into a small genealogy and exhibition space, a further €50,000 is to be provided by Clare County Council. The Kilrush and District Historical Society expect work to commence in the coming weeks.
It is the only Clare town that will share in the €1million of capital funding. Letterkenny (Donegal) €200,000, Ballina (Mayo) €140,000, Navan (Meath) €160,000, Boyle (Roscommon) €140,000 and Nenagh (Tipperary) €170,000 were also successful following a competitive process which invited local authorities to propose projects for heritage-led regeneration of a historic town in their area.
Liam Conneally, Director of Economic Development, Clare County Council felt, “This is a big win for Kilrush which only last week received €1,720,000 for a restoration project at the historic Vandeleur Estate. He added, “Kilrush is one of Ireland’s best examples of a heritage town and restoring this building will add to the heritage value of Clare’s overall tourism product. The funding being provided by Clare County Council also underlines the Local Authority’s commitment to the town.”
Dr. Paul O’Brien, Secretary of the Kilrush & District Historical Society stated, “The Terret Lodge, built in 1845, stands at one of the entrances to the Vandeleur Demesne and was occupied until about 30 years ago. This funding award will see the building preserved and converted into use as a community-led, heritage and genealogy centre, thereby connecting the present with the past and ensuring that members of the Kilrush and west Clare diaspora can access important source material and local expertise in their quest to trace their family lineage.” Established in 2012, the Kilrush & District Historical Society is a voluntary group of individuals who are interested in the history of Kilrush and its environs.
Minister for Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht, Josepha Madigan TD and Michael Parsons, Chair of the Heritage Council confirmed the chosen projects this morning. “All of the applications were of a very high standard. This funding will support the towns in their programmes of heritage-led regeneration and bring economic benefits to help our historic towns to prosper through increased visitor numbers and decreased numbers of vacant buildings and commercial premises,” Minister Madigan said.
Newly appointed Chief Executive of the Heritage Council, Virginia Teehan stated they were pleased to partner with the Department to administer the initiative. “Each of the successful towns submitted a plan-led application with a clear vision, clearly achievable actions and the promise of strong public engagement. For this reason, we have full confidence that they will make a significant contribution to the heritage-led regeneration of their towns.”
“It is wonderful to be in a position to support such a range of projects across the country. These projects, taken together, give a flavour of the variety of heritage initiatives that can be undertaken to care for and better present the narrative of our heritage townscapes,” Parsons commented
Fine Gael TD, Pat Breen in a statement to The Clare Echo commented, “While almost all Irish towns are historic in origin, a town seeking to benefit from the Historic Towns Initiative was required to have significant cultural and heritage assets and have a distinctive sense of place. Kilrush ticks all of these boxes and more.” He continued, “Heritage-led regeneration brings economic benefits to enable our historic towns to prosper through increased visitor numbers and decreased numbers of vacant buildings and commercial premises. An investment such as this in Terret Lodge will therefore be beneficial to Kilrush and the greater west Clare area,”
Applications for the 2019 programme were assessed by the HTI National Steering Group who then made recommendations to the Board of the Heritage Council for funding under the programme.