New proposals to protect 400 building and monuments in Co. Roscommon

A water pump in Ballyfarnon, a milestone in Fuerty, a mill chimney in Ballaghaderreen and a fountain on the bridge in Boyle are among 400 buildings or items of interest in County Roscommon which are being put on the list of protected structures, formerly known as ‘listed’ buildings.   A large number of buildings in Roscommon town, including streetscapes in Abbey Street, The Square, a terrace in Goff Street and some buildings at Main Street are among the 400 proposed additions to the list for the county. Prior to this, a total of approximately 260 buildings in the county were listed as protected structures. Notices have been served on the owners and the process is being run in conjunction with the County Development Plan review process. The plan is now on public display in all libraries in the county and submissions are invited from members of the public, up to September 17th. The submissions will be collated and the matter will then be brought back to the elected members of Roscommon County Council, where the review will be part of the process of reviewing the County Development Plan.  Nollaig McKeon, Heritage Officer with Roscommon County Council told Roscommon People, ‘The idea is that these are a representative example of the best type of different types of architecture in the county. The buildings mightn’t strike us as such, but they were deemed to merit protection.’ It is proposed that the new buildings or monuments be added to the record of Protected Structures. Roscommon County Council is working off recommendations made by the Minister of Environment, Heritage and Local Government. The recommendations were made as a result of two surveys, one of which was the National Inventory of Architectural Heritage. Many of the newly proposed structures are contained in that report. The remainder of the buildings came to be added to the proposed list as a result of a national inventory published in 2000, which was carried out by Dúchas. That survey proposed the addition of approximately 190 buildings in Co. Roscommon. In total, over 400 buildings are new proposals.  A wide range of buildings and monuments are contained in the new proposals. Included are the monuments in the Square in Roscommon, the celtic cross at one side of the square and the monument to Luke Patrick Hayden at the other end of the Square. A mausoleum in Oldtown is proposed for inclusion, as is the bridge in Athleague and a milestone in Fuerty. In Ballaghaderreen, benchmarks, post boxes and the mill chimney, a former sawmill chimney stack, are among those down for inclusion. Parochial houses around the county are included, as well as a number of railway buildings in Boyle and Castlerea. The fountain on the bridge in Boyle is included, as is a water pump in Ballyfarnon. Heritage Officer Nollaig McKeon said, ‘It doesn’t mean that a building can’t be changed. The idea is that these places have acquired character over time and that’s why they are deemed to be important. They display skills and workmanship that are no longer in existence or represent an era that has passed, like water pumps.  ‘All of the buildings would be deemed to have interest from an architectural, historical, archaeological, artistic, cultural, scientific, social or technical point of view. Really, all we are asking owners is not to actually damage the buildings. It doesn’t mean changes can’t be made. It means taking care of what they might be proposing to do because these buildings have acquired qualities with special interest over the years.’