Have you got an ring fort or a castle ruin on your farm?

If you’re a grassland farmer, under GLAS farmers with archaeological monuments on their farm can receive €120 per monument/year.

If you’re a tillage farmer, under GLAS farmers can receive €146 per monument/year.

The monument must be on Record of Monuments and Places (RMP) map from National Monuments Service, must be clearly visible above the ground so that one of the two monument actions can be undertaken on it. It will also appear on the mapping system in GLAS applications, the Department says.

In GLAS, under the Protection and Maintenance of Archaeological Monuments, the objective is to enhance and maintain visual archaeological monuments in the farm landscape, the Department of Agriculture says.

Applicants have two options to apply under; grassland parcels and tillage parcels:

  1. Establish and maintain a buffer margin around a visible archaeological monument in a tillage
  2. Managing vegetation around a visible archaeological monument in an eligible grassland

The aim of the tillage option in GLAS is to create a buffer margin to protect and maintain visible archaeological
monuments in a tillage field, it says.

The Department says that if you have monuments on a tillage parcel(s) and you take this action, you must take Option 1; put in place a grass margin.

The requirements under GLAS by the Department under the tillage option are:

  • To establish a 10m wide grass margin by sowing a grass seed mix by May 31 2016.
  • The action must be delivered on a LPIS parcel(s). The monument(s) must be clearly identified on the map accompanying your GLAS application.
  • The minimum number of monuments is one.
  • The margin must extend from the external outer boundary of the monument. The margin must be established by light cultivation techniques i.e. no ploughing is permitted.
  • Soil cultivation or tractor operations cannot be carried out within the margin once established.
  • The margin must be maintained by hand mowing or strimming throughout the year and for the duration of the contract.
  • Grazing by livestock is permitted provided that no damage is caused to the monument.
  • Pesticides are not permitted, except for spot treatment of noxious and invasive weeds.
  • Where there is encroaching vegetation (excluding established healthy trees) on/near the monument, this must be controlled but not between March 1 and August 31 annually. Note roots of plants cannot be removed. Further detail on this is set out in option 2 below.

Grassland option

Under the GLAS grassland option, the aim is to control certain types of re-seeded or quickly colonising trees and invasive woody plants and other problematic plants around a visible archaeological monument, the Department says.

The Department says that any proposed works to a Recorded Monument that involves digging/ ground disturbance must be notified in advance to the National Monuments Service of the Department of Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht for their consideration.

The Department says that care must also be taken to ensure that the proposed treatment of trees and/or other plant species, i.e. felling, lopping, coppicing, pollarding, pruning, cutting, thrashing or spraying is consistent with the provisions of the Forestry Act 1946 as well as GLAS.

It also notes that under no circumstances should burning take place on or near the monument, as this can also cause damage to underlying archaeological deposits.

The requirements by the Department under the grassland option for GLAS are:

  • Manage vegetation on or around a visible monument by February 28 2017.
  • The action must be delivered on a LPIS parcel(s). The monument(s) must be clearly identified on the map accompanying your GLAS application.
  • Minimum number of monuments is 1.
  • Remove all encroaching vegetation (excluding established healthy trees) on/near the monument. Roots of plants cannot be removed.
  • All works should be done with hand tools (e.g. with a saw, slash hook, secateurs and/or pruning shears) or motor-manually (e.g. with a chainsaw/brush cutter/strimmer). Tractors or diggers cannot be used to cut or remove vegetation.
  • Small trees and plants like gorse, whins, rhododendron, laurel and other individual plants should be removed by cutting at the base and treating the stump with an appropriate herbicide to prevent re-growth.
  • Larger trees should be pruned to above head height to open up access to the site or monument. Pollarding of trees is allowed.
  • Management of vegetation must NOT be carried out between March 1 and August 31 annually. The one exception to this rule is the cutting or thrashing (flailing) of bracken and ferns which can be carried out in the middle of June.
  • Remove dead or unstable trees: Cut as close as possible to ground level, leave stump in place and replace root plate in the existing depression.
  • Felled or dead trees must be cut into pieces where they fall and the pieces taken away.
  • Strim ground cover within 3m of the exterior of the monument.
  • The killing or removal of well-established ivy or trees, whose root systems have invaded the fabric of masonry structure, is not permitted.
  • Spot treatment of herbicides is permitted. All herbicides must be systemic.
  • Any fallen masonry discovered during work must be left untouched.
  • New shoots of woody plants which become established in the walls of the structure must be removed provided this does not damage or de-stabilise the monument.
  • The interior of the monument must be inaccessible to livestock. Grazing by livestock throughout the year is permissible but care should be taken in the autumn and winter months to ensure no damage is caused to the monument.
  • Place angular boulders at the base of the corner of the structure to prevent livestock from rubbing against the monument.
  • A vegetation maintenance regime should be put in place in relation to the structure, to ensure that new vegetation does not take hold within the structure, in the absence of grazing. This should not involve any degree of ground disturbance.
  • Monuments must be monitored regularly after clearance to prevent regeneration.

All known archaeological monuments in the state are marked on maps on the National Monuments Service website, the Department says.