Skills in the Heritage Sector in Northern Ireland
In 2009, the National Heritage Training Group in partnership with the Construction Industry Training Board (CITB) GB and CITB NI, published a report outlining the state of demand, supply and training provision within the built heritage sector across the whole of Ireland. Two reports; including a larger research report and a summary report were produced and further details can be found on the Skills in the Heritage Sector in Northern Ireland page.
Conservation Works Team
For the monuments in the care of Historic Environment Division, maintenance and repair are usually carried out by our Conservation Works Team. This includes a number of large and complex sites, such as Carrickfergus Castle and The Derry Walls. This team also develops heritage skills in stonemasonry, joinery and blacksmithing. In July 2020 a Heritage Skills Bursary scheme was launched in partnership with The Prince’s Foundation. This has seen six students selected to work towards NVQ Level 3 in Heritage Skills.
Other monuments, particularly those which are scheduled, are usually conserved by working with the owner to establish a Management Agreement. These may be set up for positive management of a monument which will improve its condition or prevent damaging activity. Fencing off earthworks from overgrazing, removing mature trees or bushes and strimming instead of machine mowing are some examples where a small amount of expenditure goes a long way to protect monuments from harm in the course of normal land use.
Management agreements are also established for the conservation of scheduled masonry ruins. These often require vegetation treatment in advance of working with the masonry itself and projects can be extended over several years allowing time for vegetation dieback and organising the conservation work. Examples of such work in recent years include Derrywoone Castle, County Tyrone, Crevinish Castle, County Fermanagh and Malachy's Wall, Bangor, County Down.
Under these agreements we can offer detailed advice and specifications and contribute towards costs of the conservation scheme. Management Agreements can be arranged on a wide variety of sites, from standing stones to earthworks such as forts or the ruins of masonry monuments like churches or castles.
Heritage At Risk NI Register
A number of scheduled monuments are included in the Heritage at Risk NI (HAR NI) Register with the aim of targeting conservation resources towards this particularly vulnerable group of sites.
Northern Ireland Countryside Management Scheme
Historic Environment Division also works with the Department of Agriculture and Rural Development (DARD) through the Northern Ireland Countryside Management Scheme to provide advice on protecting and conserving monuments on agricultural land. Those participating in the scheme are eligible for payment for basic maintenance works to keep their monument in good condition. Your local DARD Countryside Management Inspector will be able to offer you more information on this.