Irish government austerity cuts put a stop to preservation and repair of historic sites


On the International Day for Monuments and Sites, the Heritage Council has called out the Irish Government for an unfair division of the declining funds to protect tangible history in Ireland.  In 2008, there were 20 million euros for the protection and repairs of historic sites and monuments in Ireland compared to 5.7 million euros today. 

Just some projects to note that are getting swept under the rug include restoration of The Wonderful Barn in Co Kildare, built in 1774, and the Shell House on the Carson estate.  The Wonderful Barn was a famine relief building to store grain and the Shell House is just simply art as it is covered in seashells. 

Another site in danger is the, Skellig Michael, that attracted 11,520 people last year.  According to the Heritage Group, the site is taking in too many visitors at once leaving behind visible damage.  The report warns the Office of Public Work that, "The frequent need to accommodate between 75 and 95 visitors at the first scheduled talk of the day increases dependence of visitors upon dry stone structures, reduces visitor experience and severely diminishes access to the core elements of the monastic site.  This leads to a rush ascent, site viewing and descent. This increases impacts upon the structure and site."

Skellig Micheal, located 12km off Bolus Head in Kerry, holds a deep history.  It first was a monastic settlement for almost 500 years and was recorded in 'The Martyrology of Tallaght'. The Vikings ransacked the site in 824 becoming known as the the Annals of Ulster.  The site was eventually abandoned in the early 13th century.