The former Dillon's Shoes at Custume Place, Athlone (Image: Google Maps)

Local landmarks to benefit from €216k conservation funding

A former Athlone shoe shop, a Ballydangan cottage, and a period property in Glasson are among the local structures to benefit from Government funding for conservation works.

A total of €216,000 was announced this week for heritage projects across Westmeath and Roscommon under the Historic Structures Fund (HSF) and Built Heritage Investment Scheme (BHIS) for the enhancement of historic structures and buildings.

A sum of €14,000 was allocated to the landmark Dillon's Shoes premises at Custume Place, Athlone, vacant now but most recently home to Swan Lake Bridal Couture. Glasson House, a large period house in Glasson dating to 1830, is also to receive €14,000; while a thatched cottage at Tonvey, Ballydangan is to benefit from €11,000 in funding. These allocations, along with several more across both counties, fall under the BHIS funding stream, which aims to support labour-intensive, small-scale conservation works on protected structures on the local authority's Record of Protected Structures. These often support the employment of skilled conservation professionals, craftspeople and tradespeople in the repair of historic structures.

The main beneficiary in Westmeath under the HSF is the Kilbixy Leper Hospital, Ballinacargy, which was allocated a sum of €25,000. Three Roscommon heritage projects also stand to benefit from substantial HSF funding, with Clonalis House, Castlerea to receive €22,000; Harrington Studios, King House, Boyle to receive €15,000; and O'Beirne Mausoleum, Kilmore Church a sum of €15,000. This funding is allocated for the enhancement of historic structures to ensure their continued use for the benefit of the public.

The funding was announced on Thursday (March 28) by Minister for Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht, Josepha Madigan. Some 478 projects across the country are to benefit from a combined €4.3 million under this year's schemes: €1.8 million under the HSF and €2.5 million under the BHIS.

Speaking at the announcement, Minister Madigan said the funding will provide a welcome boost to local communities and jobs.

Our built heritage is at the historic heart of our communities. It stands sentinel to our past and, when cared for, inspiration to our future. Investing in our heritage buildings is good for the individual properties concerned, and it also provides a real boost to local communities and supports jobs in traditional building skills, conservation and tourism. It instills civic and community pride and invigorates by renewing our past,” she said.

A full list of structures can be viewed here