The Community Monuments Fund is a programme which aims to assist with conservation, research and interpretation of archaeological monuments by communities and private owners. The scheme is funded by the National Monuments Service of the Department of Housing, Local Government and Heritage and is administered in Laois by the Heritage Office of Laois County Council.
Community Monuments Fund 2023
Applications are now open for the Community Monuments Fund 2023.
This funding is prioritised for Local Authorities, private owners and custodians and community groups for the care, conservation, maintenance, protection and promotion of archaeological monuments.
Total funding available nationally for projects under Community Monuments Fund 2023 will be €6,000,000.
The Community Monuments Fund is investing essential capital in our archaeological heritage to help owners and custodians of archaeological monuments safeguard them into the future for the benefit of communities and the public.
The core aims of the Fund are the conservation, maintenance, protection and presentation of archaeological monuments.
Information for applicants: CMF 2023 Applicants Handbook
Application Form CMF 2023 Form A Application
Laois County Council is required to assess all applications, and submit with appraisal to the Department of Housing, Local Government and Heritage by 14 Ferbruary 2023. The closing date for applications to Laois County Council is 24th January 2023.
A Conservation Management plan for Ballyadams Castle was funded by the Community Monuments Fund in 2022 and delivered by Howley Hayes Cooney Architects with Laois Heritage Society in partnership with the owners of the castle David and Shirley Butler
Community Monuments Fund 2022
A total of five Laois projects were completed in 2022 under the Community Monuments Fund.
Ballyadams Castle in the east of the county is six-storey late medieval structure with rounded towers at the southeast and northwest corners and an imposing entranceway between. Attached to the east is a large rectangular seventeenth-century three-storey fortified house. The tower is in good condition but the house is very fragile.
Ballyadams was constructed during the reign of Henry VII by Adam O’More and was taken by the Geraldines in the rebellion of Silken Thomas. In 1546 the Lord Justice with the Earl of Desmond came with their armies to Laois and Ballyadams was given to John Bowen (description courtesy of the National Monuments Service, see www.archaeology.ie
for full details).
Under the Community Monuments Fund 2022, a Conservation Plan for the castle was drawn up, to guide future conservation and management. Led by Conservation Architects Howley Hayes Cooney, the team also included Archaeologist Colm Flynn, Structural Engineers Cora engineering and ecologists with Bird Watch Ireland to advise on enhancing the site for birdlife.
This is a partnership project of Laois Heritage Society, Laois Heritage Office and the Castle owners Shirley and David Butler. The partners are all grateful for the support of the Community Monuments Fund and the National Monuments Service.
Clonreher Castle just outside Portlaoise dates to the early 1500s. It is a four-storey tower house with projecting five-storey towers at the Northeast and Southwest corners, built of greywacke, a type of sandstone. The castle was probably owned by the O’Dowlings, one of the seven septs of Laois before it was granted to John Dunkirley by the crown in 1550. It later belonged to the Hartpoles of Shrule Castle (description courtesy of National Monuments Service, www.archaeology.ie
Under the Community Monuments Fund 2022, a Conservation Plan for the castle was undertaken. Led by Conservation Architects Howley Hayes Cooney, the team included Archaeologist Colm Flynn, Structural Engineers Cora engineering and ecologists with BirdWatch Ireland coming on board to advise on enhancing the site for birdlife, particularly barn owls which are known to be using the castle already.
This is a partnership project of Clonreher Castle Conservation Group, Laois Heritage Office and the Castle owner Basil Broomfield. The group members are very grateful for the support of the Community Monuments Fund and the National Monuments Service.
Rahin Church is in the village of Ballylynan. In the 1302-06 Ecclesiastical Taxation of Ireland the ‘Chapel de Balylonan’ [Ballylinan] was valued at 40 shillings. This medieval church was described in the late 19th century as ‘the ruins of an ancient church, measuring about 40 feet [12.1m] in length, by 16 feet [4.8m] in width.
The church was fragile and in urgent need of masonry conservation, which 2as undertaken in 2022 with thanks to support from the Community Monuments Fund of the National Monuments Service.
Works specified in a condition report were carried out by a skilled stonemason Jethro Sheen under the supervision of David Kelly Partnership consulting engineers and Colm Flynn Archaeologist.
Conservation team at Rahin Church Ballylinan after conservation
Dysart Enos Church
A Conservation Plan was published for Dysart Enos Church in 2014, and 2022 saw phase 2 of conservation work at the site, under the guidance of Richard McLoughlin Conservation Architect and Colm Flynn Archaeologist. This work, with the help of funding from the Community Monuments Fund, saw works to conserve the window openings and the chancel arch completed.
The church is looked after by the Local community and the Dysart Enos Conservation Committee. Photos courtesy John Grace/Dysart Enos Church Conservation
Community Monuments Fund 2021
The Community Monuments Fund in Laois in 2021 funded six projects. Follow links below for full details of the projects or to download reports.
- Conservation of Masonry at Killabban Medieval Church
- Conservation of Dysart Enos Church
- Conservation of boundary wall at Old St Peter’s Church, Portlaoise
- Research into archaeology at the Heath, Portlaoise
- Conservation Management Plan for St Bridget’s Church, Kilbreedy
- Installation of Interpretation at Killabban Church
An additional project led by Carlow County Museum saw the grave effigy of medieval knight Robert Hartpole conserved and returned from Portarlington to Carlow.
A reconstruction of what Killabban might have looked like in the 7th Century, by Marc Guernon (c)
Community Monuments Fund 2020
The Community Monuments Fund came into being in September 2020. Projects completed in 2020 with full details and reports as relevant are below.
Conservation of Masonry at Killabban Church
Conservation Plan for Dysartgallen Medieval Church and Graveyard
Conservation Plan Phase I for Kilmanman Graveyard
Recording memorials of Old Lea Graveyard
Conservation work underway at Dysart Enos Church, Ratheniska