If you have an out-house or old farm building that is a bit worse for wear, then 2022 could be its lucky year. The €1.25m Traditional Farm Buildings Grant Scheme is open now and the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine (DAFM) is seeking applicants.

The scheme, which funds the conservation of traditional farm buildings and structures of significant heritage value is open to anyone who participates in the Green Low-Carbon Agri-Environment Scheme (GLAS).

The Heritage Council manages the scheme on behalf of the DAFM, which funds it under the Rural Development Programme. It aims to conserve traditional farm buildings and structures of significant heritage value, that contribute to our rural landscape, for agricultural use.

Commenting on the scheme, Minsister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Charlie McConalogue said that the scheme supports farmers in the preservation and enancement of biodiversity also, as many of these structures are homes to our wildlife, specifically birds and bats.

“Among many other discoveries, I was delighted to hear that the first known record of a Whiskered bat roost in Co. Louth was discovered in a traditional farm building supported under the scheme in 2021,” the minister said.

“The scheme helps demonstrate that sensitive conservation action and management by farmers safeguards these habitats and contributes to the reversal of biodiversity loss.”

Minister McConalogue with Amelia McFarland of Dunmore Gardens

Apart from sheds and buildings, other built features of our farming heritage are also supported under the scheme, he said.

“I had the pleasure recently of seeing the works carried out to the walls at the mid-18th century Dunmore Gardens in Co. Donegal, which as well as serving as the boundary to the farm, are also on the Donegal Garden Trail.

“Retaining and using our traditional farm buildings and other built features avoids the mining, quarrying, felling, manufacture and transport of new building materials and the more farmers who renovate and adapt for use on the farm, the less new build will be needed.”

This, he said, contributes to climate-change mitigation and the sustainable use of resources and supports farmers in being more climate resilient.

Virginia Teehan, Heritage Council CEO, said: “This scheme invests in those crafts people with the skills to maintain this historic building stock for our future.

“Skills people carry out repairs in accordance with a conservation ethos which recognises and respects the different values that these buildings retain. If it was not for the level of care that is taken by those working on the scheme the Civil War diary hidden in a jam jar in the gable wall of a building in Co. Mayo would never have been discovered.

“This is just one example of how so many of these buildings serve as repositories of artefacts as well as serving as hosts of embodied energy and traditional building skills and as havens for wildlife.

Minister McConalogue is encouraging GLAS participants to consider applying for the scheme.

Grants available range between €4,000 and €25,000 with up to 75% of the cost of the project eligible for funding, and a maximum available grant of €25,000.

The closing date for receipt of online applications is Tuesday, February 22 at 5pm

More information and the online application form are available here