Heritage Conservation

Former Market Building

Client Duties
Construction Cost Guide 
Key Statutory Timelines 
Heritage and Conservation
Implications for Owners 


Under is a synopsis of the key aspects of the Part IV Planning and Development Act 2000 relating to Protected Structures , how they are assessed , why they are important and duties of Owners to maintain them and what to do when  carrying out works.

There are no categories or grades of protected structures – a structure is either listed or not. Recognising the huge importance of built heritage to our national identity and collective history .The Local Authorities are obliged to maintain a list called the Record of Protected Structures for each of their jurisdictions.  A list is found in all Local Authority Development Plans and accompanying Maps. They are advised to re-assess existing and proposed protected structures for each plan.

Definition of Protected Structure

A Protected Structure is defined under the Act ‘as  any building, structure excavation or other thing constructed or made on , in or under any land , or any part of a structure’ . A protected structure can be anything from a Palladian Country House, outbuildings, landscape, archaeological ruin to a modest  thatched cottage to a row of houses and even a non-descript house where one Ireland’s key figures in history lived.

This includes the following:

  • The Protected Structure itself
  • The interior of the structure
  • The land lying within the curtilage of the structure
  • Any other structures lying within that curtilage and their interiors
  • All fixtures and features which form part of the interior or exterior of the structures.

Reasons for Inclusion on Record of Protected Structures :

Key to the objective assessment of the structures is their special interest ( to our national heritage) – The Act requires that a protected structure must be of special interest under one or more of the following categories :

  1. Architectural
  2. Historical
  3. Archaeological
  4. Artistic
  5. Cultural
  6. Scientific
  7. Technical
  8. Social

A more detailed guide on the assessment criteria is found here See Chapter 2 Stage 2 

Assessment Mechanisms

The National Inventory of Architectural Heritage , a unit within the Department of the Environment , Heritage and Local government is compiling an evaluated record of the architectural heritage of Ireland . The objective of the NIAH is to record all structures of special heritage interest and it is well advanced.  The Local Authorities assess this information with a view to inclusion of structures in their existing RPS .

There are three classifications of Special interest based on the clearly defined criteria of special interest for the NIAH assessment :

  • National
  • Regional
  • Local

Finally a Ministerial Recommendation can be made to a Planning Authority concerning inclusion of a structure or part of a structure or Attendant grounds.

Architectural Conservation Areas – (ACA )

Planning Authorities are also obliged to preserve the character of places and townscapes which are of special interest or that contribute to the appreciation of protected structures , by designating them Architectural Conservation Areas ( ACA’s) in the Development Plans.

ACA reports  outline what contributes to the special character of a place and how to manage change within the specified boundaries to preserve this special character. These reports in turn inform the Planning Authorities on how best to assess new development proposals within the ACA.

Examples :

Fitzwilliam Square and Environs Dublin

Westport Co. Mayo – Map including most of town centre 











Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *