The Irish Heritage Trust cares for special places in a way that works to deliver benefits to people and the country. The fundamentals for this approach are place, people and participation.

Our Story so Far

The Irish Heritage Trust is an independent charity which was established in July 2006 as a joint initiative between government and the voluntary sector.  A number of national heritage bodies had been doing wonderful work for many years, however, there was a particular need for a national, independent heritage property organisation to develop new ways of working that could reduce the financial burden on the State as well as engage with communities for wider public benefit.

Many studies over decades had highlighted the importance of historic properties both in terms of culture and contemporary economic benefit and in 2003 ‘A future for Irish Historic Houses? – A study of fifty houses’ by Dr Terence Dooley played an important part in supporting the creation of the Trust.

We took responsibility for our first property Fota House and Gardens (Cork) in December 2007. Today the property is thriving, requires no funding from the State and has received tremendous public and private support. It has won numerous awards and is buzzing with volunteers and visitors.

In addition to taking responsibility for properties, the Irish Heritage Trust has initiated and led innovative projects including the highly successful Dublin Tenement Experience (2013) and the Fota Learning Zone (2010).

In 2016 the Trust celebrated ten years and is embracing a new phase of its development that coincides with wider economic recovery. We are now only 31% dependent on the State for financial support which is about half of the national average for charities in Ireland.

The success of Fota House illustrated the new model the Trust set out to create and this has led to our involvement with two nationally significant heritage properties through innovative partnerships.

In August 2015 we took responsibility for operating Strokestown Park and the Irish National Famine Museum (Roscommon). The Trust was also selected by Teagasc to help to revive and regenerate Johnstown Castle, Estate and Gardens (Wexford) in the coming years.

In addition to grant aid from Government, we are fortunate to have received wonderful support from many people across Ireland over the last ten years. Thanks to their time, dedication and money we are beginning to make a difference. After a decade of hard work we have proven the research concepts that led to our creation and are excited about the years ahead. Take a look here to see how we are doing this and let us know what you think.

To find out more and read the documents/studies, please go to our Library: