This article examines the impacts of Ireland’s economic and property market crisis on its urban historic cores to better understand the pressures shaping the planning and management of Ireland’s built heritage. A case study approach is applied to the historic centres of Waterford, Limerick and Drogheda, three locations deeply impacted by macro-economic restructuring, de-industrialisation and Ireland’s recession. Ireland’s crises in the property market, public finances and wider economy have had significant impacts on the built heritage in these locations including a weak investment environment, dereliction and decay associated with long-term vacancy and the retrenchment in grant-aid support. Additionally, Ireland’s policy framework for the protection of built heritage, Part IV of the Planning and Development Act 2000, has in practice been less than robust in terms of enforcement while also providing limited resources for conservation. Despite these challenges, local authorities are attempting to leverage the economic potential of their local heritage to physically regenerate inner-city locations, stimulate the construction sector, enable tourism-led economic growth and engage in place-marketing strategies to attract further inward investment and economic development. As such, the management of urban historic cores in post- ‘Celtic Tiger’ Ireland increasingly prioritises the commercialisation of built heritage over traditional core concerns of conservation including identity, authenticity, local distinctiveness, artistic and cultural importance, memory and community.
|Publication status||Published - 2014|