Over 16,000 historic monuments have been identified in Northern Ireland.

Find out more about each on the Northern Ireland Sites and Monuments Record (SMR).

This database contains information on all of Northern Ireland’s monuments including scanned information from our archives.  Further hard copy information may be available from our National Monuments and Buildings Record (Northern Ireland).

Historic monuments on the Record  are not formally protected but are the subject of planning policies to ensure that their interest is taken into account when change  to them or their setting is proposed. 

Scheduled Historic Monuments

Monuments may also be scheduled for protection under Article 3 of The Historic Monuments and Archaeological Objects (Northern Ireland) Order 1995. There are over 1,900 scheduled historic monuments in Northern Ireland.  It is an offence to carry out changes to such structures without consent from the Department. 

A hard copy of  the schedule can be inspected in the Monuments and Buildings Record

Monuments are selected for scheduling on the basis of published criteria. These can be found in Annex B of Planning Policy Statement 6 (PPS 6): Planning, Archaeology and Built Heritage (1999)

Monuments in State Care

Monuments may also be under the ownership or guardianship of the Department.  These tend to be Northern Ireland’s most important historic monuments, though a minority have come into the government estate for other reasons.  There are now 190 single, groups or complexes of Monuments in State Care managed by us. 

Scheduled Monument Consent

SMC from the Department  is required for any changes to a Scheduled Historic Monument. Under Article 4 of the HMAO (NI) Order (1995) this is defined as:

  • any works resulting in the demolition, destruction, or disturbance of, or any damage to a scheduled monument
  • any works for the purpose of removing or repairing a scheduled monument or any part of it or of making any alterations or additions thereto
  • any flooding or tipping operations on land in, or under which, there is a scheduled monument

There is no provision for granting retrospective scheduled monument consent and it would be an offence to carry out these works without having been granted consent in advance.  

Archaeological excavation works, and the use of detecting devices are subject to Scheduled Monument Consent. It is an offence to be in possession of a detecting device on a scheduled monument without the prior written consent of the Department.

You can download a Scheduled Monument Consent (SMC) form or call 028 9054 3030 to apply for this consent.

Where you believe intended works may have an impact on a scheduled monument or its statutorily designated area you are strongly advised to contact Historic Environment Division for informal discussion at an early stage.

It is important that sufficient information is included with your application to enable a full understanding and assessment of the proposal. If there is insufficient detail your application may be returned.

The Department aims to issue a final decision on Scheduled Monument Consent within 12 weeks of the receipt of sufficient information.  Initially, a provisional decision will issue in order that you can decide whether you wish  to appeal to the Planning Appeals Commission. The final decision will issue 10 days later.   

Class consents

Certain works have been defined in the Historic Monuments (Class Consents) Order (Northern Ireland) 2001 as already having consent. These cover certain agricultural works, maintaining a canal, works urgently necessary for health and safety, and works carried out as management agreements.

Scheduled monument consent and other permissions

Scheduled monument consent is required for works in the scheduled area, regardless of whether planning permission or other permissions have been sought or obtained. Planning permission is a separate matter where applicants should apply to the relevant district council. The level and type of detail required in making an application for scheduled monument consent may differ from what would be required applying for a planning application.

The scheduled monument consent process may run in parallel with the statutory planning process, and such cases are dealt with most effectively if the applications for scheduled monument consent and planning permission are prepared at the same time following early discussions with the Historic Environment Division. Where both scheduled monument consent and planning permission are being sought for a proposal, scheduled monument consent must be determined first.

Looking after your scheduled monument

When a monument is scheduled, the owner or occupier is responsible for its good maintenance. They will be visited every four years by a Field Monument Warden, who will check the condition of the monument and provide advice on how best to look after it. Often a little basic advice or maintenance can help to avoid some of the most common problems, such as ploughing too close to a monument or cattle erosion, which can damage buried archaeological remains. Support may be available for repair and interpretation works from the Historic Environment Fund.

Structure and contacts

View the Historic Environment Division structure and contacts

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