Five monuments across Ireland selected for Heritage Council’s Adopt a Monument Programme

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The sites to benefit from specialist expertise and mentoring include a ringfort, motte, churches and graveyards in Donegal, Cork, Kildare, Kerry, and Monaghan.

Five monuments in locations across Ireland have been selected for inclusion in the Adopt a Monument Scheme 2022. The scheme offers communities expertise, mentoring and support to help them to care for their local heritage. Following a call for applications in September 2021, more than 40 community groups applied to adopt a monument in their locality. The five sites were chosen following a selection process that also involved the National Monuments Service, the Discovery Programme, a community archaeologist, and Abarta Heritage.

The sites included in this year’s scheme are an early medieval church and cross at Killaghtee in Co Donegal, which overlooks the Atlantic; a ring fort in Baltimore, West Cork, which is perched above Church Strand Bay; Dunmanogue Church and Graveyard in Kildare; St James’ Church in Dingle, Co Kerry (home to the Other Voices Music Festival), and an Anglo-Norman motte castle in the heart of Inniskeen, Co Monaghan.

Working in partnership with communities and State bodies, the Adopt a Monument Scheme helps to ensure the sustainable future of the adopted monuments. It also offers communities a way of promoting pride in place and pride in Ireland’s past, as well as opportunities to develop and understand the story of a locality, to work collaboratively, to get active, participate in community development and to boost tourism, business and employment opportunities.

Speaking about the sites chosen, Chief Executive of the Heritage Council, Virginia Teehan said: “We received more than 40 applications from energized community groups across Ireland. Each of the sites is unique and represents important aspects of Ireland’s heritage. We are really looking forward to working with the communities to uncover the stories of their sites.”

The Adopt a Monument Scheme is an initiative of The Heritage Council and is managed by Abarta Heritage. Support in surveying and investigation work for several sites will be provided by the Discovery Programme, which is the State’s archaeological research institute.

CONTACT: Ian Doyle, the Heritage Council, email: idoyle@heritagecouncil.ie, Tel: 086-8329378 / Joanne Ahern, DHR Communications, Tel: 087-9881837.

Detail on individual sites:
Photos by Neil Jackman, Abarta Heritage

Killaghtee Old Church and Cross, Co Donegal: The old church at Killaghtee is thought to date from the 12th Century but the Killaghtee cross is much older, dating back to around 650AD. Dunkineely Community Ltd wish to preserve the cross (which has deteriorated over recent decades) and work with stakeholders to conserve and maintain the site for future generations.

Inniskeen Motte, Co Monaghan: It is thought that the motte at Inniskeen was constructed on top of an earlier Gaelic settlement. Inniskeen Enterprise Development Group Co Ltd will work with the Adopt a Monument team to find out more about the history and archaeology of the site, so this can be shared with the local community and visitors to the area.

Dunmanogue Church and Graveyard, Co Kildare: The historic medieval graveyard and church ruins in Dunmanoge were built on a much earlier monastic foundation, apparently founded by St Finnian of Clonard. Castledermot Local History Group wants to conserve and protect this important site for future generations.

Baltimore Ringfort, Co Cork: Baltimore Ringfort, overlooking Church Strand Bay, is an enigmatic site that has been adopted by Baltimore Community Council Ringfort Sub Group. It wishes to find out more about the story of the site to share with the community and visitors to the area.

St James’ Church & Graveyard, Dingle, Co Kerry: The historic St James’ Church and Graveyard in Dingle is situated in the centre of the town and has been adopted by the Friends of St James’ Dingle. They wish to conserve the church and graveyard to ensure that it can continue to be a spiritual and cultural centre for many years to come.