A memorandum of understanding (MOU) designed to protect “the built vernacular heritage of the island of Ireland” has been signed by Minister of State for Heritage and Electoral Reform Malcolm Noonan and Minister for Communities for Northern Ireland Deirdre Hargey.
Ireland’s built vernacular heritage is most commonly reflected in rural settings such as farmyards, dwellings and outhouses.
The MOU, signed on Tuesday, recognises that the retention and continuing use of traditional buildings, settlements and landscapes strengthens sense of place and attractiveness of countryside across the island.
The three-year strategy aims to create greater understanding and appreciation of vernacular heritage and develop measures to preserve traditional buildings and craftsmanship.
It also includes a focus on measures to rehabilitate vernacular buildings and structures that have fallen into disrepair, to hand on to future generations.
Minister Malcolm Noonan said: “The rural houses, farm buildings and farmyard features that comprise our vernacular heritage are a common cultural legacy that connect us to the past, but they are also a vital part of a sustainable rural future.”
Minister for Communities for Northern Ireland Deirdre Hargey said: “Our heritage of ordinary rural buildings across the island has been disappearing fast over the last 30 years. They make our rural areas unique.
“It’s important moving forward that we realise the value of these buildings and share best practice in how to care for this key part of our heritage.”