Chapter 10: Cultural Heritage

Closeddate_range19 Feb, 2016, 10:00am - 29 Apr, 2016, 5:30pm
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10.1 Background

The physical traces left in the landscape by previous generations in archaeological monuments and sites and in historic buildings, townscapes and vernacular structures forms part of the tangible cultural heritage of Fingal linking the past and present. It is part of our identity, part of the distinctive character, vibrancy and attractiveness of where we come from or the places we live and work in and plays a significant role in drawing visitors to the area. The Council recognises the importance of identifying, valuing and safeguarding the archaeological and architectural heritage of Fingal for future generations which can be achieved through the proper management, sensitive enhancement and/or appropriate development of this resource.

Statement of Policy

The Council is committed to the protection and conservation of buildings, areas, structures, sites and features of archaeological, architectural, historical, artistic, cultural, scientific, social or technical interest:

  • By safeguarding archaeological sites, monuments, objects and their settings listed in the Record of Monuments and Places (RMP), and any additional newly discovered archaeological remains, and by identifying archaeologically sensitive historic landscapes.
  • By protecting the architectural heritage of Fingal through the identification of Protected Structures, the designation of Architectural Conservation Areas, the safeguarding of designed landscapes and historic gardens, and the recognition of structures and elements that contribute positively to the vernacular and industrial heritage of the County.
  • By favouring the preservation in-situ (or at a minimum preservation by record) of all sites and features of historical and archaeological interest.
  • By making our cultural heritage more accessible and maximise its potential as a learning resource.
  • By promoting the understanding of Fingal’s cultural heritage in terms of its inherent and unique character and to recognise what elements should be preserved, conserved or enhanced.
  • By implementing the objectives and actions of the Fingal Heritage Plan to raise the profile and awareness of Fingal’s heritage.

The Council is dedicated to protecting, conserving and presenting the county’s rich cultural heritage while promoting sustainable economic development and the enrichment of the environment.

10.2 Archaeological Heritage

Protection of the Archaeological Resource

The National Monuments Acts 1930-2004 provide for the protection of archaeological sites, monuments, artefacts and shipwrecks that are listed in the Record of Monuments and Places (RMP). Although the archaeological resource is finite (refer Appendix 3), sites continue to be discovered. Where new development is being considered, it therefore advisable to check the National Monuments Service’s Archaeological Survey Database on in order to assess the archaeological potential of a site.

Objective CH01

Favour the preservation in situ or at a minimum preservation by record, of archaeological sites, monuments, features or objects in their settings. In securing such preservation the Council will have regard to the advice and recommendations of the National Monuments Service of the Department of the Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht.

Objective CH02

Protect all archaeological sites and monuments, underwater archaeology, and archaeological objects, which are listed in the Record of Monuments and Places and all sites and features of archaeological and historic interest discovered subsequent to the publication of the Record of Monuments and Places, and to seek their preservation in situ (or at a minimum, preservation by record) through the planning process.

Objective CH03

Encourage and promote the appropriate management and maintenance of the County’s archaeological heritage, including historical burial grounds, in accordance with conservation principles and best practice guidelines.

Development and the Archaeological Resource

Archaeology is a non-renewable resource in that once an archaeological feature or site is excavated or removed it is gone forever from the landscape. Therefore, any proposed development should consider the potential impact on archaeology in the very earliest stages and seek to avoid affecting archaeological features or sites and their setting. This includes development along or in Fingal’s rivers, coastline and tidal estuaries. Currently 40% of the recorded archaeological sites within Fingal are sub-surface. Therefore any development has the potential to uncover previously unknown archaeological sites.

Objective CH04

Ensure archaeological remains are identified and fully considered at the very earliest stages of the development process, that schemes are designed to avoid impacting on the archaeological heritage.

Objective CH05

Require that proposals for linear development over one kilometre in length; proposals for development involving ground clearance of more than half a hectare; or developments in proximity to areas with a density of known archaeological monuments and history of discovery; to include an Archaeological Impact Assessment and refer such applications to the relevant Prescribed Bodies.

Objective CH06

Ensure that development within the vicinity of a recorded monument or zone of archaeological notification does not seriously detract from the setting of the feature, and is sited and designed appropriately.

Objective CH07

Develop a policy in relation to the treatment of archaeological monuments within open space of developments. A different designation from that of open space will be applied where sub-surface archaeological remains are incorporated to differentiate the area.

Objective CH08

Recognise the importance of archaeology or historic landscapes and the connectivity between sites, where it exists, in order to safeguard them from developments that would unduly sever or disrupt the relationship and/or inter-visibility between sites.

Objective CH09

Co-operate with other agencies in the assessment of the potential for climate change to impact on coastal, riverine, inter-tidal and sub-tidal sites and their environments including shipwreck sites.

Objective CH10

Encourage reference to or incorporation of significant archaeological finds into development schemes, where appropriate and sensitively designed, through layout, displays, signage, plaques, information panels and by using historic place names and the Irish language where appropriate.

Awareness and the Archaeological Resource

There are currently 1015 known archaeological sites and monuments in Fingal. These vary from the familiar-churches, graveyards, castles, windmills and holy wells- to sites that survive only beneath the surface-settlements, burials, ditches and pits. All of these sites contain unique information about our past and the people who lived in Fingal before us. They also form a resource for education, for communities and for tourism. The Council owns or is responsible for almost 20% of all the archaeological sites within Fingal.

Objective CH11

Promote best practice for archaeological excavation by ensuring that they are undertaken according to best practice as outlined by the National Monuments Service, Department of Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht, The National Museum and the Institute of Archaeologists of Ireland.

Objective CH12

Actively support the dissemination of the findings of archaeological investigations and excavations through the publication of excavation reports thereby promoting public awareness and appreciation of the value of archaeological resources.

Objective CH13

Identify Areas of Archaeological Potential that contain clusters of Recorded Monuments or have a significant history of the discovery of archaeological sites, features and objects in order to allow for their designation, protection of their setting and environs.

Objective CH14

Raise public awareness of the cultural heritage and improve legibility by providing appropriate signage or interpretation in areas, sites, villages, and buildings of archaeological and historic significance.

Objective CH15

Develop and implement the findings of the Community Archaeology Strategy for Fingal.

Objective CH16

Support the growth of cultural tourism in the county, including the potential for niche heritage-based tourism products by facilitating the development of heritage events, infrastructure such as heritage trails, walkways and cycleways etc. and activities such as community excavation.

Objective CH17

Manage the archaeological sites and monuments that Fingal County Council owns or is responsible for according to best practice and according to Conservation Plans where they exist.

10.3 Architectural Heritage


Fingal has a diverse building stock ranging from farmsteads, small cottages and large country houses to the architecture of a capital city, including an international airport, large shopping centres and modern office blocks. Within this great variety of building types and uses are structures, streetscapes, village and town cores of such architectural heritage significance or special character that they are deemed worthy of protection either as individual elements, as clusters of buildings or as falling under a distinctive building theme or type that form part of the unique identity of Fingal.

Part IV of the Planning and Development Act, 2000, as amended provides the legal basis for the conservation and enhancement of the architectural heritage. There are two principal mechanisms within this legislation for the protection of these assets; the Record of Protected Structures (RPS) and Architectural Conservation Areas (ACAs). Specific direction on the implementation and management of these statutory protections is provided in the Department of Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht’s publication Architectural Heritage Protection: Guidelines for Planning Authorities (2011). The Department has also issued a range of publications under its Advice Series to provide more detailed guidance and advice on historic building materials and issues e.g. maintenance, access, windows, iron, and brickwork.

Record of Protected Structures (RPS)

Each Local Authority has a legal responsibility to compile a Record of Protected Structures (RPS). Structures, or parts of structures, can be added to the Record if they are deemed of special architectural, archaeological, historical, cultural, artistic, scientific, social and/or technical interest. A Protected Structure, unless otherwise stated, includes the exterior and interior of the structure, the land lying within its curtilage, any other structures and their exterior and interiors lying within that curtilage, plus all fixtures and features which form part of the interior or exterior of any of these structures. Curtilage refers to the parcel of land immediately associated with the Protected Structure and generally forms the boundary of the property ownership. Large properties like country estates, institutional complexes, and industrial sites can have extensive grounds that contain a number of additional structures within their curtilage or attendant grounds which have a functional connection or historical relationship with the principal building. The location of these structures and the laying out of the lands were often deliberately designed to complement the appearance of the Protected Structure or to assist in its function. Therefore, the setting of a Protected Structure may contribute significantly to its special character. Any works that would materially affect or impact the character of a protected structure require planning permission.

The current RPS is included in Appendix 2 of this Draft Plan. The RPS may be varied at any time by following the procedures outlined in Section 55 of the Planning and Development Act, 2000, as amended. The up-to-date RPS, incorporating any additions or deletions within the lifetime of the current Development Plan, will be maintained on the Council’s website or can be checked at the public counter of the Council’s Offices.

Objective CH18

Review the Record of Protected Structures on an on-going basis and add structures of special interest as appropriate, including significant elements of industrial, maritime or vernacular heritage and any twentieth century structures of merit.

Objective CH19

Ensure that any development, modification, alteration, or extension affecting a Protected Structure and/or its setting is sensitively sited and designed, is compatible with the special character, and is appropriate in terms of the proposed scale, mass, height, density, layout, materials, impact on architectural or historic features, and junction with the existing Protected Structure.

Objective CH20

Seek that the form and structural integrity of the Protected Structure is retained in any re-development and that the relationship between the Protected Structure and any complex of adjoining buildings, designed landscape features, or designed views or vistas from or to the structure is conserved.

Objective CH21

Encourage the sympathetic and appropriate reuse, rehabilitation and retention of Protected Structures and their grounds including public access seeking that the Protected Structure is conserved to a high standard, and the special interest, character and setting of the building preserved. In certain cases the relaxation of site zoning restrictions may be considered in order to secure the preservation and conservation of the Protected Structure where the use proposed is compatible with the existing structure and this will only be permitted where the development is consistent with conservation policies and the proper planning and sustainable development of the area.

Objective CH22

Promote the use or reuse of all the Protected Structures at St.Ita’s Hospital complex and demesne in Portrane as a priority for Fingal County Council. Notwithstanding the use class ‘HA’ Zoning matrix , appropriate uses within the Protected Structures and within the ancillary land areas within the complex including uses which also relate to and are consistent with the historic use of the overall historic complex (established prior to the foundation of the Irish State)will be actively promoted and allowed to proceed subject to appropriate consent where such activities will secure viable sustainable re use of the complex into the future and which will provide for the proper conservation and sustainable development of St. Ita’s.

Objective CH23

Ensure that proposals for large scale developments and infrastructure projects consider the impacts on the architectural heritage and seek to avoid them. The extent, route, services and signage for such projects should be sited at a distance from Protected Structures, outside the boundaries of historic designed landscapes, and not interrupt specifically designed vistas. Where this is not possible the visual impact must be minimised through appropriate mitigation measures such as high quality design and/or use of screen planting.

Objective CH24

Prevent the demolition or inappropriate alteration of Protected Structures.

Objective CH25

Demonstrate best practice in relation to the management, care and maintenance of Protected Structures by continuing the programme of commissioning Conservation Plans for the principal heritage properties in the Council’s ownership and implementing the policies and actions of these Conservation Plans where they already exist.

Objective CH26

Carry out an audit and assess the condition of all Protected Structures within the Council’s ownership and devise a management/maintenance plan for these structures.

Objective CH27

Ensure that measures to up-grade the energy efficiency of Protected Structures and historic buildings are sensitive to traditional construction methods and materials and do not have a detrimental physical, aesthetic or visual impact on the structure. They should follow the principles and direction given in the Department of Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht’s publication Energy Efficiency in Traditional Buildings.

Architectural Conservation Areas (ACA)

Skerries Mills aerial photo

An Architectural Conservation Area (ACA) is a place, area, group of structures or townscape that is of special architectural, historical, archaeological, artistic, cultural, scientific, social or technical interest or value, or contributes to the appreciation of protected structures.

ACAs could encompass, for example, a terrace of houses, a whole streetscape, town centre or a small cluster of structures associated with a specific building such as a mill or country house. Most structures in an ACA are important in the context of their contribution to the streetscape or character of an area and so the protection status generally relates only to the exterior of the buildings or the streetscape, except for Protected Structures within ACAs where the protection extends to the interior and curtilage of these properties. Any works that would have a material effect on the special character of an ACA require planning permission.

Table 10.1 Architectural Conservation Areas in Fingal

Abbeville Demesne

Ardgillan Demesne

Balbriggan – Nos. 14 to 28 Hampton Street (even numbers only)

Balbriggan Historic Town Core





Donabate – Newbridge House Demesne & The Square


Howth Castle Demesne

Howth Historic Core

Howth – Nashville Road & Park

Howth – St. Nessan’s Terrace, St. Peter’s Terrace, Seaview Terrace & The Haggard


Luttrellstown Demesne

Malahide Castle Demesne

Malahide Historic Core

Malahide – The Bawn, Parnell Cottages & St. Sylvesters Villas

Milverton Demesne


Portrane – Grey Square

Portrane – Red Square

Portrane – St. Ita’s Hospital complex

Old Portmarnock (Drimnigh Road)




Sutton – Sutton Cross & Environs

Sutton – No. 20a to 26 Strand Road

Sutton – Martello Terrace, Strand Road

Each ACA boundary is outlined on the Draft Development Plan maps that accompany this written statement.

Objective CH28

Identify any potential new ACAs and evaluate and modify existing ACAs where necessary during the lifetime of the Plan.

Objective CH29

Produce, and review where necessary, detailed guidance for each ACA in the form of Statements of Character that identify the specific special character of each area and give direction on works that would impact on this.

Objective CH30

Avoid the removal of structures and distinctive elements (such as boundary treatments, street furniture, paving and landscaping) that positively contribute to the character of an ACA.

Historic Building Stock and Vernacular Heritage

Scattered throughout the countryside and within the towns and villages of Fingal is an extensive stock of modest historic buildings and structures some of which have been designed by an architect or engineer while others are vernacular structures built to no formal plans using traditional building types and materials. While these older buildings may not meet the criteria of sufficient special interest to be designated Protected Structures, their form, scale, materials and orientation contribute positively to the rural landscape as well as to the historic villages and towns of Fingal, establishing the distinctive character of a particular area. The retention and reuse of these buildings and structures exemplifies sustainable development and so the Council will encourage the appropriate re-use of vernacular buildings rather than their replacement or dereliction.

Objective CH31

Promote the sympathetic maintenance, adaption and re-use of the historic building stock and encourage the retention of the original fabric such as windows, doors, wall renders, roof coverings, shopfronts, pub fronts and other significant features of historic buildings, whether protected or not.

Objective CH32

Seek the retention of surviving historic plot sizes and street patterns in the villages and towns of Fingal and incorporate ancient boundaries or layouts, such as burgage plots and townland boundaries, into re-developments.

Objective CH33

Require that proposed infrastructural and public utility works within Fingal do not remove historic street furniture such as limestone or granite kerbs, cobblestones, cast-iron postboxes, waterpumps, milestones and street lighting, except where an exceptional need has been clearly established.

Objective CH34

Sensitively design, locate and rationalise modern street furniture and elements such as utility boxes, cables, posts, antenna and signage.

Objective CH35

Seek the retention, appreciation and appropriate revitalisation of the historic buildings stock and vernacular heritage of Fingal in both the towns and rural areas of the County by deterring the replacement of good quality older buildings with modern structures and by protecting (through the use of ACAs and the RPS and in the normal course of Development Management) these buildings where they contribute to the character of an area or town and/or where they are rare examples of a structure type.

Objective CH36

Require that the size, scale, design, form, layout and materials of extensions to vernacular dwellings or conversions of historic outbuildings take direction from the historic building stock of Fingal and are in keeping and sympathetic with the existing structure.

Objective CH37

Commission a study on the thatched buildings of Fingal to examine how to ensure their continued survival.

Cultural Quarters

The Council has identified a cultural quarter in the vicinity of Swords Castle where is intended to develop and encourage the clustering of cultural activities. A Swords Castle Cultural Quarter Masterplan has been adopted.

Objective CH38

Support the cultural development of Swords Castle Cultural Quarter.

Industrial Heritage

The sites, structures, machinery, artefacts and plant associated with manufacturing, transportation, communications, construction, public utilities, raw material extraction and production form our industrial heritage. Rapid advancements and developments in engineering and technology have left much of our historic industrial heritage obsolete and under threat from dereliction, demolition or unsympathetic adaption. Industrial buildings were constructed to meet the requirements of a specialised function and so the dimensions of spaces, layout and sometimes the location of these structures can be unusual and challenging to adapt to different uses. An understanding of the significance of the structure and any surviving machinery and/or plant should inform the design of any redevelopment. Examples of the industrial heritage of Fingal include the historic railway structures, harbours, lighthouses, bridges, milestones, factories, mills, weirs, lime kilns, forges and windmills spread throughout the whole of the county. A Fingal Industrial Heritage Survey has been commissioned comprising of a desktop survey and field survey to outline the history of the development of industry in the county and to identify significant structures that should be protected.

Objective CH39

Protect where appropriate industrial heritage structures or elements of significance identified in the Fingal Industrial Heritage Survey by adding them to the Record of Protected Structures during the lifetime of the Development Plan.

Objective CH40

Utilise the information provided within the Fingal Industrial Heritage Survey when assessing development proposals for surviving industrial heritage sites.

Objective CH41

Protect and enhance the built and natural heritage of the Royal Canal and ensure that development within its vicinity is sensitively designed and does not have a detrimental effect on the character of the Canal, its built elements and its natural heritage values and that it adheres to the (DRAFT) Waterways Irelands Heritage Plan 2016-2020.

Objective CH42

Seek the retention and appropriate repair/maintenance of the historic bridges and harbours of the County whether Protected Structures or not.

Designed Landscapes – Historic Gardens, Demesnes & Country Estates

Historic designed landscapes relate to gardens, parkland, woodland, estates, and public parks that were deliberately laid out for artistic effect. By using both natural and built features such as trees, shrubs, flowers, lawns, ponds, watercourses, views/vistas, follies, statues, walled gardens, gate lodges or gates, an architectural and horticultural composition was created for the enjoyment of the owners or the general public. These landscapes or gardens could be formal set pieces with ornamental planting in set patterns usually geometric designs or they could be “naturalised” parkland made to look like the rural countryside but which had been carefully planned through the placement of individual or groups of trees, expanses of open lawns, and sunken boundary walls known as ‘ha-has’ that allowed uninterrupted views of pastoral scenes.

The architectural components of historic gardens, from small gardens to large parks, include:

  • Plan and topography.
  • Vegetation e.g. species, proportions, colour schemes, spacing and respective heights
  • Structural and decorative features
  • Water (running or still)

Walled Garden Ardgillan Demesne

Fingal does not have a tradition of urban public parks or cemetery gardens and so the designed landscapes of the County consist primarily of demesnes or estate lands, which were originally privately owned, for example Malahide Castle Demesne, Luttrellstown Castle Demesne, Newbridge House Demesne, Howth Castle Demesne and the Phoenix Park. An assessment of 19th century historic maps by the National Inventory of Architectural Heritage (NIAH) identified about 130 demesnes or designed landscapes within Fingal’s jurisdiction at that time but not all may have survived to the present day.

Objective CH43

Utilise existing surveys to identify and evaluate the surviving historic designed landscapes in Fingal and promote the conservation of their essential character, both built and natural.

Objective CH44

Require that proposals for development within historic designed landscapes include an appraisal of the designed landscape (including an ecological assessment) prior to the initial design of any development, in order for this evaluation to inform the design which must be sensitive to and respect the built heritage elements and green space values of the site.

Objective CH45

Ensure that development within Fingal along the perimeter of the Phoenix Park adheres to the OPW’s Phoenix Park Conservation Management Plan, does not have a detrimental impact on the Park, does not damage any of the built elements along its boundary, or interrupt any important vistas into or out of it.

Objective CH46

A feasibility study of St Ita’s, has been completed jointly by Fingal County Council and the HSE to determine the optimal future sustainable use of this complex and to consider the development of new modern psychiatric health care and ancillary facilities (which can include the provision of a National Forensic Mental Health Service Hospital), having regard to the cultural, visual and ecological sensitivities of the site. It is an objective of Fingal County Council to secure the implementation of the objectives laid down in this feasibility study that relate to: the re-use of the existing Protected Structures and historic building stock for appropriate uses together with the ongoing maintenance and management of these structures; the ongoing maintenance and management of existing trees and woodland and the maintenance and provision for an appropriate level of public accessibility through the site.

Awareness of and Access to the Architectural Resource

The protection and conservation of the architectural heritage will be best achieved through the recognition and appreciation of it by all sections of society. It is important that awareness of the location and significance of protected sites and structures are raised and that the sustainability, as well as the aesthetic, values of the historic building stock are understood. The Council can assist in the realisation of this through the support or active production of relevant publications and guidance notes, the running of exhibitions and seminars, the development of cultural tourism products and the improvement of access to Council owned sites. While the Council cannot provide public access to private property, if requested it can offer advice and guidance to privately owned protected sites and structures that are open to the public on how to sensitively adapt their properties to enhance access for all.

Objective CH47

Promote and enhance the understanding of the archaeological and architectural heritage of Fingal through the development of cultural tourism products, talks, exhibitions and publications.

Objective CH48

Provide universal access to archaeological and architectural heritage sites where appropriate. Ensure the archaeological and architectural heritage significance of the site is taken into account when providing such access.

Objective CH49

Endeavour to accommodate and improve universal access to Council owned archaeological and architectural heritage sites open to the general public through the dissemination of information on the Council website outlining the accessibility of these sites and, where appropriate, after an evaluation has been carried out that the significance of the site will not be damaged, establishing a programme of works to improve physical access to Council owned property following best conservation principles.

Malahide Castle

10.4 Language Heritage

The use of the Irish language as part of everyday life is encouraged. Approximately 38% of the population of Fingal could speak Irish in 2011 ( In this regard, the Council has an important role to play in the promotion of the language in the County. The Draft Development Plan can support and provide land-use and spatial dimension to promote and protect the linguistic and cultural heritage of the area. The Council will continue to support initiatives at County level to strengthen bilingualism in the County.

Objective CH50

Highlight the profile of the Irish language in the urban and rural environment and support the Irish language by facilitating the provision of Irish language facilities.

Objective CH51

Ensure that the naming of mixed residential and mixed use schemes reflect local history, folklore and/or place names and are stated in the Irish language.

Objective CH52

Encourage the use and promotion of historical and current townland names in the urban and rural environment in both the Irish and English languages, with a view to supporting the provision of townlands place names markers/signage.

Objective CH53

Support the use of the Irish language on shopfronts.

Objective CH54

Promote Irish language and traditional culture and the cultural and language heritage of new Irish/migrant communities in Fingal and support events celebrating our cultural heritage.

Objective CH55

Promotion of our language and culture is essential to the development of our County. Fingal Development Plan 2017-2023 promotes the established Coiste Gaeilge Comhairle Fhine Gall, a Fingal County Irish Language Committee, which promotes the use of the Irish language, the development of Seachtain na Gaeilge and encourages the use of Gaeilge on shop fronts. 



Old Portmarnock ACA
See attached
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