Home News Community €748,000 Just Transition Funding for conservation of medieval churches and pollinators in...

€748,000 Just Transition Funding for conservation of medieval churches and pollinators in Laois and Offaly

A major new project linking conservation of medieval heritage and biodiversity has been launched by Laois and Offaly County Councils.

The three year project has been awarded €748,000 under the Governments Just Transition Fund which aims to support innovative projects that contribute to the economic, social and environmental sustainability of the Midlands and which have employment and enterprise potential.

The total budget for the project is €880,000.

One church and graveyard has been selected in each municipal district in both counties.

The work at all sites will commence with a comprehensive conservation plan which will be drawn up by a team including a conservation architect, conservation engineer, archaeologist and ecologist.

This programme runs for three years so it is anticipated the work in 2021 will focus on research and preparing the programme of works to commence in 2022 and 2023.

In Laois, the sites to be included are Kilmanman, near Clonaslee (in the Mountmellick – Borris in Ossory Municipal District), Dysart Gallen in Spink (Portlaoise Municipal District) and Clopook (Portarlington – Graiguecullen Municipal District).

The medieval church of Kilmanman is on an early Christian site founded by St Manman. Urgent conservation work started at the Church in 2019 with support from Creative Ireland Laois, and work will continue under the Just Transition Project.

The community at Dysart Galllen commissioned a Conservation Plan in 2020 with funding from the Community Monuments Fund of the Department of Housing, Local Government and Heritage. This plan has set the priority area for action on the fragile chancel arch and West window of the Church.

Eoin Cahill of the Dysart Gallen graveyard committee said: “I for one am very excited to know that this important historical site will now be preserved for future generations to enjoy, and explore, just like I have.

“The community are very proud of Dysart Gallen and are delighted it is getting the love and attention it deserves.

“The site itself is such a peaceful place to visit, which is something visitors from far and wide will experience for many, many years to come.”

Clopook graveyard with its medieval abbey dedicated to the Blessed Virgin is located beside the Dun of Clopook, an impressive hillfort situated on top of high rock outcrop similar to the Rock of Dunamase with commanding views of the surrounding countryside in all directions.

The place name ‘Cloghpooke’ is annotated on the 1563 map of Laois-Offaly and this hilltop fortress or hillfort is traditionally associated with the O’Moore/O’More clan.

The Offaly sites to be included are Kilmurry in Shinrone, Kilbride near Tullamore and Monasteroris near Edenderry.

Catherine Fitzgerald, Cathaoirleach of Laois County Council, said: “We are delighted to be taking a lead on the Just Transition Fund project to work with communities at these important sites in Laois and Offaly.

“Churches and graveyards are such important places for heritage and also for the sense of place and identity of the local community.

“It is great news that there will be positive interaction with communities at a church site in each of the Municipal Districts, I look forward to seeing works progress over the next three years.”

SEE ALSO – Series of free youth events, workshops and activities to take place in Laois for Cruinniú na nÓg on June 12

Previous articleLaois senior football team named ahead of Sunday’s Kildare clash
Next articleDeaths in Laois – Sunday, May 30, 2021
Stradbally native Alan Hartnett is a graduate of Knockbeg College who has worked in the local and national media since 2008. Alan has a BA in Economics, Politics and Law and an MA in Journalism from DCU. His happiest moment was when Jody Dillon scored THAT goal in the Laois senior football final in 2016.