IHBC’s ‘All-Island’ signpost: Common commitment to all Ireland’s heritage – North South Agreement on Vernacular Heritage

An ‘All-Island’ commitment to Ireland’s vernacular heritage has been established with the signing of the North South Agreement on Vernacular Heritage, supporting traditional buildings etc.

image: Context 140 – July 2015

… signing of the MOU follows renewed focus on the preservation of our vernacular heritage…

GOV.IE writes:

Minister of State for Heritage and Electoral Reform, Malcolm Noonan T.D., and Minister for Communities for Northern Ireland, Deirdre Hargey MLA, have, on January 25th 2022, signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) in relation to the built vernacular heritage of the island of Ireland.

Ireland’s built vernacular heritage is most commonly reflected in rural settings such as farmyards, dwellings and outhouses. Large numbers of vernacular buildings can also be found in rural settlements (mainly hamlets), along with villages and urban centres. Vernacular heritage applies to both our built heritage and to our landscapes. Vernacular buildings are normally built by families and their neighbours, with traditions passed down through communities. It is a significant part of the island of Ireland’s cultural heritage, deeply connected to its local environment and often exhibiting clear, regional characteristics.

Minister Noonan said:

“The rural houses, farm buildings and farmyard features that comprise our vernacular heritage are a common cultural legacy that connect us to the past, but they are also a vital part of a sustainable rural future.  Minister Hargey and I want to take an all-island approach to advance the understanding and nurturing of this valuable cultural and social asset and today’s Memorandum of Understanding enables this through a ‘gentle rehabilitation’ approach that is rooted in traditional skills and local materials to preserve regional character and a strong sense of place in the landscape. I welcome this collaboration and look forward to making significant progress by working together to preserve our vernacular heritage.”

The signing of the MOU follows renewed focus on the preservation of our vernacular heritage, through the recent publishing of ‘A Living Tradition: A Strategy to Enhance the Understanding, Minding and Handing on of Our Built Vernacular Heritage’. This three year strategy aims to create greater understanding and appreciation of vernacular heritage, measures to develop greater capacity around the preservation of vernacular buildings and traditional craftsmanship, along with measures to rehabilitate vernacular buildings and structures that have fallen into disrepair, to hand on to future generations.

Minister for Communities for Northern Ireland, Deirdre Hargey, MLA, commented:

“Our heritage of ordinary rural buildings across the island has been disappearing fast over the last 30 years; they make our rural areas unique. In these times of climate change, reusing buildings makes sense and I commend this joint publication that highlights the fragility and value of this cultural layer of our common heritage. It’s important moving forward that we realise the value of these buildings and share best practice in how to care for this key part of our heritage.”

Read more….

This post helps mark the IHBC’s 25th anniversary year: #IHBC25

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