Heritage & Architectural Conservation

  • What is 'The Record of Protected Structures'?

    The Galway City Development Plan 2017-2023 sets out a strategy to protect and enhance the architectural and built heritage of the city. This includes the designation of structures as protected structures and their inclusion on the Record of Protected Structures (RPS).

    The purpose of the RPS is to record and maintain details of all protected structures within the city.

    A protected structure is a structure, which the city council considers, is of special architectural, historical, archaeological, artistic, cultural, scientific, social or technical interest. Examples of protected structures within the city include: St. Nicholas' Church, the lighthouse at Mutton Island, the timber sculpture at the Salmon Weir Bridge and the King George V post box at Courthouse Square.

    The Record of Protected Structures is available for inspection at City Hall or on the City Councils website. An inventory and external photograph of each protected structure is available on the City Councils Online Planning Enquiry System.
    These details may be viewed by using the select arrow and then 'double-clicking' on a protected structure icon on the map.

    View the Record of Protected Structures


  • What are the Implications for Owners and Occupiers of Protected Structures?

    Where a structure is protected, the protection includes the interior and exterior of the structure, its curtilage and other structures within that curtilage. Protected structure status does not preclude development or alteration.

    Certain works that are normally considered exempted development may require planning permission if those works affect the character of the structure.
    Any person who, without lawful authority, causes damage to a protected structure is guilty of an offence.

    Measures to Assist Owners and Occupiers to Preserve a Protected Structure
    An owner or occupier of a protected structure can seek a Section 5 Declaration from Galway City Council, which indicates the kind of works that could be carried out, without materially affecting the character of the structure and therefore, would not require planning permission.

    The main funding stream available for private conservation works is the Department’s Structures at Risk Fund. The Heritage Council provides funding for Local Authority projects under the Heritage Plan Programme.
    Normal planning exemptions do not apply to protected structures. Under Section 57 of the Planning and Development Act as amended, the Local Authority can issue a Declaration which sets out the extent of works that can be exempt.


  • How to apply for a Heritage Grant?

    Please contact the Planning Department at planning@galwaycity.ie for details.


  • What is an Architectural Conservation Area and what can I do within it?

    An Architectural Conservation Area (ACA) is a place, area, group of structures or townscapes, taking account of building lines and heights, that is either of special architectural, historical, archaeological, artistic, cultural, scientific, social or technical interest in its own right or which contributes to the appreciation of protected structures.

    Galway City Council has a duty, under planning law, to protect and enhance the built heritage of the city. A measure to achieve this is through the designation of Architectural Conservation Areas. To date eleven areas have been designated as ACAs in the City Development Plan 2017-2023. Each of these areas represents different periods and functions in the development of the city.

    The eleven areas designated as ACAs are as follows:

    The City Core ACA

    Lower Dominick Street ACA

    The Crescent/Sea Road ACA

    The Long Walk ACA

    St. Nicholas Street ACA

    St. Mary's Terrace ACA

    1-6 Dock Street ACA

    Eyre Square ACA

    11-18 University Road ACA

    7-14 Presentation Road ACA

    34-48 St. Marys Road ACA

    Further Information
    Policies on protected structures and ACAs are contained in Chapter 8 of the Galway City Development Plan 2017-2023.

    Further information regarding protected structures and architectural conservation areas may also be obtained from the 'Architectural Heritage Protection - Guidelines for Planning Authorities', DoEHLG 2005, www.housing.gov.ie or through the Heritage Council, www.heritagecouncil.ie.

    Galway City Council can also advise on good conservation practice and development proposals. For further information and advice please contact: The Planning Department, Galway City Council, City Hall, College Road, Galway. Tel: 091 - 536599 Email: planning@galwaycity.ie


  • Who is the Heritage Officer in Galway City Council?

    Local Authorities appoint Heritage Officers to support the integration of heritage conservation into their activities and to enhance heritage at a local level.

    Galway Heritage Office

    Jim Higgins is the Heritage Officer for Galway City Council

    Contact Details:

    Heritage Officer,
    City Hall,
    College Road,

    Tel: 091 536547

    Email: jim.higgins@galwaycity.ie

    The Heritage Council of Ireland

    The Heritage Council
    Rothe House,

    Tel: 051 7770777

    Email: mail@heritagecouncil.com

    Web: www.heritagecouncil.ie


  • Videos from 5th Galway City International Heritage Conference - Fortress Ireland

    Videos from 5th Galway City International Heritage Conference are available on Vimeo at:



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