Offaly Heritage Plan Preparation 2023 - 2027

Offaly Heritage Plan 2023 - 2027

The fifth Offaly Heritage Plan is currently being prepared.  It is for the period 2023 to 2027 and will set out the programme for the main projects / focus over these years.  There have already been discussions with each Municipal District Meeting and Comhairle na nOg in addition to a number of public engagement  meetings with heritage groups and historical societies. It was presented at the June Strategic Policy Committee meeting and is now out for public consultation. 

 Please see the DRAFT Offaly Heritage Plan 2023-2027 and email any comments to heritage@offalycoco.ie by Friday 26 August 2022.

DRAFT Offaly Heritage Plan 2023-27.pdf (size 901.8 KB)

Offaly Heritage Plan 2017 - 2022

The Offaly Heritage Plan 2017- 2022 focused on 8 key actions as set out below.  This led to much more clarity setting out the main focus of the heritage office during this period.  

Eight Action Areas for 2017 -2022

  1. Offaly County Council Heritage related projects such as 1916/2016 Centenary Commemorations and the follow on programme Creative Ireland; management of key county sites such as Durrow and Clonmacnoise, public realm plans and ongoing projects as they arise.
  2. Partnering with local communities and societies working on heritage projects, ranging from the Tidy Towns network to Historical Societies.
  3. Heritage and Tourism – making sites accessible and improving signage and information including inputs to www.visitoffaly.ie
  4. Developing a County Archive Service in partnership with Offaly History, the Library Service and private owners. 
  5. Medieval churches/Monastic Site conservation of the structures, management plans and access (these sites are predominantly in Offaly County Council ownership) 
  6. Publications – commissioning of and assisting with publications, specifically Offaly Castles and demesne landscapes which are currently in preparation. 
  7. Biodiversity - promotion of the All Ireland Pollinator Plan, submitting records to the National Biodiversity Data Centre and control of invasive species with particular focus on Japanese and Himalayan knotweed and Himalayan Balsam.  
  8. Access to heritage - coordinating and management of events such as Heritage Week, Offaly Naturalists’ Field Club, Annual Offaly Heritage Seminar and awareness of Offaly’s heritage through all appropriate means.

What May Change for 2023 - 2027?

Three key areas have already come to the fore which will influence the development of the next Offaly Heritage Plan

  • Climate Change - considerable change across all sectors is being experienced currently and this will increase, whether it is the management of peatlands, reuse of town centre housing stock, reducing damage to existing heritage buildings from weather extremes or carbon accounting to name but some of the areas.
  • Biodiversity Crisis - the loss of biodiversity is now widely acknowledged and projects to tackle this will need more focus over the coming plan period. 
  • Funding Criteria - in the past five years a number of new funding schemes have been introduced which are much needed. They range from the Town Centre First Policy, Historic Towns Initiative, Community Monuments Fund, Creative Ireland, increased Biodiversity Funding to Heritage Sector Support Grants.  All these are very welcome and guiding groups and projects through project planning and advice will be a key role over the coming years. 

Timeframe

It is planned to carry out public engagement up to April; then to draft the new Heritage Plan for consideration by the Strategic Policy Committee of Offaly County Council; allow for public comment and amendment during the summer months and bring the final plan to the County Council meeting for adoption in September/ October 2022.