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13 Aug 2022

Celebrations planned to mark success of conservation project in Letterkenny

"Historic preservation can help create more attractive places in which to live and work" - Joseph Gallagher, Heritage Officer

Celebrations planned to mark success of conservation project in Letterkenny

Some of the historic buildings that have been restored on Church Lane, Letterkenny

A conservation work project for seven historic buildings in the heart of Letterkenny will be the subject of an evening of celebration this Friday.

The Church Lane Historic Towns Initiative was the culmination of a partnership between Donegal County Council, the Letterkenny Cathedral Quarter Committee, local property owners, the Heritage Council and the Department of Housing, Local Government and Heritage.

The works included roof and chimney repairs, structural works, installation of cast-iron rainwater goods, reinstatement of timber sash windows and doors, and the repair of a historic shopfront.  

The Church Lane Historic Towns Initiative represents the culmination of a partnership between Donegal County Council, the Letterkenny Cathedral Quarter Committee, local property owners, The Heritage Council and the Department of Housing, Local Government & Heritage.  

The initiative saw the investment of €200,000 by The Heritage Council, €40,000 by Donegal County Council as well as private investment by property owners on Church Lane.   

The works were supervised by conservation architect Duncan McLaren from Dedalus Architecture and the works were undertaken by John Doherty Construction and John O’Loughlin Construction.  

The works employed traditional materials that were informed by best conservation practice.  “The Historic Towns Initiative programme highlights the importance and potential of heritage-led regeneration” said Joseph Gallagher, County Donegal Heritage Officer. 

 “These are challenging times for our town centres and villages and the Historic Towns Initiative programme supported by The Heritage Council and the Department of Housing, Local Government and Heritage provides an opportunity to demonstrate the contribution that the conservation and reuse of our historic buildings can make to the character of our historic streetscapes and to highlight how historic preservation can help create more attractive places in which to live and work.  

“The Historic Towns Initiative builds on the success of the Letterkenny Cathedral Quarter Committee over the past eight years in its determination to regenerate the historic heart of the Cathedral Quarter centred on Church Lane.  Indeed, the Letterkenny Cathedral Quarter Committee and Letterkenny Tidy Towns will be hosting a free conference entitled ‘Derelict in Donegal’ in Dillon’s Hotel, Main Street, Letterkenny, earlier on Friday starting at 11 a.m. and you can book a place on www.eventbrite.ie”  

The Historic Towns Initiative on Church Lane has been featured in national workshops organised by The Heritage Council and, in February 2020, the Church Lane Historic Towns Initiative won the President’s Highly-Commended Project Award at the Irish Planning Institute Awards.  A plaque on Church Lane commemorates that achievement and was launched on Culture Night last year.  

Every local authority can submit one application to the Historic Towns Initiative each year for a historic town with an indicative population of more than 1,500 inhabitants.  

The proposed works must be based on a conservation plan-led approach and demonstrate strong community engagement.  

Funding of up to €250,000 is available under the scheme.  

The initiative was managed by Mr Gallagher along with Collette Beattie and Joanne McMenamin, Donegal County Council Conservation Office.

Celebration times

The celebration of the Church Lane Historic Towns Initiative on Church Lane in Letterkenny will be at  5 pm on Friday.

Entertainment will be provided by Letterkenny Comhaltas, Elusive Theatre and Maria McCormack and food and light refreshments will be provided by Wholegreen restaurant from 4.30 p.m.  The event is free and all are welcome.

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