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Grants of €7,500 available for expert conservation advice on vernacular farmhouse buildings

14th June 2023

Vernacular farmhouses are a key part of our rural heritage, and we want to help people turn these vacant houses into homes. But they can present unique challenges when it comes to refurbishment, so this scheme will help people overcome some of the obstacles they might face.

I am delighted to announce that the Department of Housing, Local Government, and Heritage is introducing a new pilot scheme to provide grants of up to €7,500 for expert conservation advice to owners of vacant farmhouses in private ownership who are availing of and/or considering the Vacant Property Refurbishment Grant.

I welcome the launch of this new pilot scheme, not only because it will provide an additional source of support to help bring more vacant properties back into use, but because it will do so in a way that respects our national heritage by allowing owners to get the expert advice needed to breathe new life into these traditional buildings which form such a distinctive part of our rural landscape.

The Conservation Advice Grant Scheme for Vacant Traditional Farmhouses will provide grants of up to €7,500 (ex VAT) to cover the cost of having a conservation expert with proven and appropriate expertise visit a property, conduct a survey, and compile tailored conservation advice for the property owner.

This expert advice will include a report which outlines the condition of a building and suggests conservation repairs and improvements which would improve the building and enhance its character, energy efficiency, integrity, and amenity.

What Kind of Buildings Qualify?

Traditional (also known as ‘vernacular’) farmhouses are a key part of our rural landscape and shared heritage. Sometimes described as ‘cottages’, these buildings generally comprise old houses constructed using traditional techniques and locally available materials such as thatch, stone, slate, earth, wattle, and timber. Later on, corrugated iron, despite its imported, industrial origin, was also used.

The new scheme will provide access to expert assistance for vernacular farmhouse owners considering availing of the Vacant Property Refurbishment Grant, which provides funding under the Croí Cónaithe (Towns) Fund for the refurbishment of vacant and derelict homes in both rural and urban areas or properties that have previously not been in residential use.

The Vacant Property Refurbishment Grant provides a grant of up to €50,000 to renovate a vacant property. It can be used in conjunction with the Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland (SEAI) grants to help improve the energy efficiency of a home provided works are eligible.

Those interested in availing of the scheme can apply through the Department of Housing, Local Government and Heritage website:


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