Draft Dublin City Strategic Heritage Plan

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Closes 10 Apr 2023


1. What is your name?
2. What is your email address?
3. What is your organisation?
4. Our Strategic Goals

The following Strategic Goals and Objectives were developed out of a long research and consultation process. This began with a review of work carried out under the 2002 Heritage Plan. Following that review, we convened working groups for the three subject areas of Archaeology, Built Heritage and Cultural Heritage. The working groups met twice each individually, and once as a combined larger group. Their focused discussion and analysis produced draft strategic objectives that form the basis of this plan. Public engagement workshops were held in five areas across Dublin City during Heritage Week 2021. After refining the results of the research and consultation process, we have produced the six key strategic goals listed below. Each goal is further broken down into a number of objectives, under which specific heritage projects will be identified and delivered. 

5. Community-Led And Locally-Focused

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Why this goal?

Where did this come from? What need is it addressing?

‘nobody lives in Dublin, they live on Cork Street, or in Phibsboro, or in dolphin’s barn…’

Dublin is a city made up of historic and modern, urban and suburban districts. It is a collection of streets and estates, of town centres, school catchment areas and local shops. Dublin is home to many communities; communities of place, faith, culture and interest. Each of those communities has its own network of organisations, supports and social outlets.

It is an aim of the Dublin City Strategic Heritage Plan that Dublin continues to be a vibrant city of neighbourhoods and communities, and that communities are facilitated to propose and implement the heritage projects that they wish to see happen, with the support of the Heritage Office.

On an administrative level, Dublin City is subdivided into five administrative districts or local areas: Central, North Central, South Central, North West and South East. Each of these has its own area offices and council-supported infrastructure.

It is an aim of the Dublin City Strategic Heritage Plan to engage effectively with existing community and council networks within the five local areas in order to provide local access to heritage services and to deliver heritage projects with real local impact.

Dublin is a city of layers and complexity. By enabling a community-led, locally-focused approach to heritage projects that is more ‘ground-up’ than ‘top-down’, this strategic heritage plan aims to acknowledge that complexity.

Strategic objectives

Objectives that will progress this goal.

  1. Produce a toolkit for the development of local heritage projects in partnership with area offices, including information on how to access existing council-produced resources and interpretative materials.
  2. Support heritage participation and engagement through the development of community-led local heritage plans, co-created and implemented with local community groups and supported by the city council.
  3. Develop an annual local heritage grant scheme to support cultural heritage activities identified in local heritage plans.
  4. Support community-led projects (from communities of place and of interest) and work collaboratively with existing community organisations, building on and learning from the important work that they are already doing.
  5. Support capacity building projects and events within communities of place and interest, and facilitate the sharing of knowledge and experience between communities.


Measures of success

  • Pilot local area heritage plans are implemented in each of the five local authority areas.
  • An annual local heritage grants scheme is in place, aimed at funding smallscale non-capital heritage actions within local communities.
  • Community groups, study groups, heritage project participants and other stakeholders are provided with the tools to develop their own local heritage plans, using participatory community-led processes.
  • Communities are supported to develop and lead heritage project in their area.
  • Communities are supported and encouraged to participate in built, archaeological and cultural heritage activities.
  • There is increased participation by Dublin-based community groups and custodians of heritage sites in national community heritage schemes.
  • Increased community engagement with heritage creates increased community wellbeing.
  • Links are in place with creative Ireland and arts-based funding organisations, within and outside of council, to encourage a creative approach to community-led heritage projects.
6. Making room for diverse voices

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Why this goal?

Where did this come from? What need is it addressing?

Dublin is a city of many voices and a city of many stories. Historically, some of those voices and some of those stories have been heard more than others. This strategic plan seeks to address that imbalance by making room for a much greater variety of voices within conversations about Dublin’s heritage, and by actively challenging accepted narratives - seeing old stories from new perspectives, and seeking out new stories that have not yet been told.

In many ways the history of Dublin is the history of inward migration. From the earliest settlers, to the Vikings, Normans, through the period of British rule, to more recent arrivals, the population of Dublin has seen successive waves of expansion and change. Each of those waves bringing with it new cultures and heritages that have become part of the heritage of Dublin as a whole.

This goal in particular acknowledges the principles of the Faro’ Convention on The Value of Cultural Heritage to Society - namely, the fundamental right of everyone to have their cultural heritage respected and the fundamental responsibility on everyone to respect the cultural heritage of others. And the acknowledgment that aspects of heritage may be valuable to different people and to different groups of people for different reasons.

Strategic objectives

Objectives that will progress this goal.

  1. Develop thematic and multidisciplinary heritage projects that include intangible cultural heritage as an integral component. Support thematic projects that explore concepts and practices that are common to all traditions.
  2. Work with partner organisations to support community-led heritage projects from historically marginalised communities.
  3. Support projects that view existing heritage resources in a new light or from a previously unexplored perspective. Allow for projects that challenge existing heritage narratives.
  4. Support projects that explore the heritage of communities of interest and community-based action.
  5. Support projects that explore the long history of inward and outward migration to/from Dublin.


Measures of success

  • The range of projects supported under the heritage plan has expanded to include the heritages of diverse Dublin communities, both historic and current.
  • A number of carefully-managed thematic projects - exploring basic human themes that transcend era or background, such as food culture, ritual, burial etc. - have been initiated.
  • The heritage of historically marginalised groups is represented among the projects produced under the remit of the strategic heritage plan.
  • The heritage of communities of interest is represented among the projects produced under the remit of the strategic heritage plan.
  • Oral history and intangible heritage are recognised as integral to Dublin’s heritage.
  • Projects that explore a crafts-and-labour-based history of architectural heritage, as distinct from the history of architect and patron, are supported.
  • Projects that explore Dublin’s relationship with colonialism are supported.
  • Projects that explore community-based activism and the heritage of community spaces are supported.
  • Internship and training opportunities are identified within partner organisations.
7. Creating knowledge

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Why this goal?

Where did this come from? What need is it addressing?

From as early as the Mesolithic era (7,500-4,500bc) Dublin has been a centre of human activity. It was an internationally-important Viking port, Ireland’s first town, a medieval walled city, a colonial capital and the birthplace of the modern Irish state. Dublin has embodied the major social changes of the twentieth and twenty-first centuries and Dublin today is a major European capital; a city of many communities, many languages and many stories. There is a lot that we already know about Dublin’s heritage; and there is a lot that we have yet to discover.

In some cases - in the field of archaeology, for instance - a large amount of research data exists, which has either not been organised, not been made accessible, or both. In other cases - in the many fields of intangible cultural heritage, for instance, or in understanding the heritages of immigrant communities in Dublin - little data exists. In the relatively well-researched field of architectural heritage, there are subject matter areas that have yet to be fully explored.

The new Dublin City Strategic Heritage Plan aims to consolidate what we already know by organising the information that already exists, evaluating it and making it accessible to as many people as possible; it aims to add to our existing knowledge by commissioning new research; and it aims to broaden community participation in generating and exploring heritage knowledge.

Strategic objectives

Objectives that will progress this goal. 

  1. Build on the success of the previous heritage plan to progress existing built, archaeological and cultural heritage research projects and to identify new ones.
  2. Continue to identify and collect baseline built, archaeological and cultural heritage data (basic research, thematic surveys and reports) and to archive this data according to best practice guidance.
  3. Collaborate with strategic partners to: carry out reviews of existing data and research, to identify gaps and emerging themes; put research strategies in place for individual subject areas; and to review funding opportunities for built, archaeological and cultural heritage-focused research, at national and international level.
  4. Support and develop projects that allow for the collection of oral histories, social memory and personal or family artefacts.
  5. Support and develop projects that illustrate the contribution that built, archaeological and cultural heritage can make to sustainability, including the unsustainable development goals, and to addressing the impacts of climate change.


Measures of success

  • Existing ongoing research projects such as Built to Last, The 20th Century Architecture Project, Dublin City Industrial Heritage Record and Places of Worship are progressed and expanded.
  • The county Dublin archaeology GIS dataset continues to be updated on a 5 year basis, in partnership with the Dublin local authorities, the Heritage Council, the National Museum of Ireland, and The Institute of Archaeologists of Ireland. 
  • Key historical excavations in Dublin City are fully reported.
  • Environmental archaeological data is retained and archived.
  • New research interests have been identified, based on meaningful community collaboration.
  • Research strategies for high-research-focus subject areas are in place.
  • Work has been initiated with partner organisations to review existing oral history collections, identify gaps, develop new collections and make those accessible. 
8. Access to heritage

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Why this goal?

Where did this come from? What need is it addressing?

Enabling greater access to heritage emerged as a strong theme from the consultation process for this strategic heritage plan. This was centred around three distinct concepts of access:

  1. Universal access - that heritage places and heritage resources must be fully accessible to users of all ages and abilities.
  2. Access to heritage data - that the heritage data produced using public funds must be made freely and publicly available.
  3. Social and cultural barriers to access - that the principles of cultural democracy and participation must be embedded into the design and implementation of all heritage projects and by all heritage organisations.

Everyone has the right to access environmental information that is held by public authorities and to participate in environmental decision making (Aarhus convention, 1998) and everyone has the right to benefit from cultural heritage, contribute to cultural heritage and have their own cultural heritage respected (faro convention, 2005). The new Dublin City Strategic Heritage Plan seeks to ensure that all projects carried out under its remit reflect those rights.

It is a goal of the Dublin City Strategic Heritage Plan that accessing Dublin’s heritage should be easy and barrier-free for everyone.

Strategic objectives

Objectives that will progress this goal.

  1. Build on projects implemented under the previous heritage plan to continue to make heritage data available as an online resource. Work with existing and new geospatial platforms as required to map published and unpublished heritage data.
  2. Ensure that access and issues relating to access are fully considered in all built, archaeological and cultural heritage projects carried out under the remit of the strategic heritage plan.
  3. Collaborate with groups and individuals who have experienced barriers to accessing or celebrating heritage to identify ways in which improved access can be achieved. Work with groups and individuals to develop tailored opportunities and supports.
  4. Develop and support projects and initiatives that value and embrace intangible cultural heritage, including the heritage of living practices.


Measures of success

  • A map-based online platform is in place, providing access to Dublin’s heritage data. This may be based on an existing online resource, such as heritagemaps.ie.
  • Published material that is currently only available in hardcopy format is republished in more accessible form and made available online.
  • Outreach initiatives are provided to people and groups who have experienced barriers to participation in mainstream or official cultural heritage activities.
  • Training workshops are provided for people and groups who wish to learn the tools of local history and heritage research.
  • A pilot internship programme on themes of intangible cultural heritage and the heritage of living practices is established in collaboration with key organisational partners.
9. Heritage management

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Why this goal?

Where did this come from? What need is it addressing?

Seen as a whole - the result of continuous occupation and change over thousands of years - Dublin may be considered our greatest monument on the island of Ireland. Like any historic monument, it demands careful and attentive management.

Dublin’s built, archaeological and cultural heritage is a dynamic, constantly evolving resource. This strategic heritage plan is committed to encouraging a whole-city historic urban landscape approach to heritage management - in which the city is considered not as a collection of individual heritage sites, but as a whole human environment, with all of its tangible and intangible qualities.

Strategic conservation management of vulnerable cultural heritage sites and areas within that environment can be achieved through the conservation plan and conservation management plan process. These are value-focused processes that bring all stakeholders together to identify a site or area’s significance, risks to that significance and to agree policies for implementation over time that manage change and safeguard significance. 

Through the Dublin City Heritage Plan 2002+ The City Council has so far prepared conservation plans for the city walls and defences, Henrietta Street, Saint Luke’s The Coombe, a draft plan for Pigeon House power station, and a conservation strategy for The Follies in Saint Anne’s Park. These plans in turn have provided a foundation for numerous other heritage-focused projects, developed as a result of implementing individual conservation plan policies.

The new Dublin City Strategic Heritage Plan is committed to the ongoing implementation and review of these existing plans - by undertaking public engagement activities, new research and conservation works - and to the identification of new sites or structures that would benefit from the conservation plan process.

Strategic objectives

Objectives that will progress this goal.

  1. Promote best practice in built, archaeological and cultural heritage in Dublin city, through guidance, and CPD-accredited training initiatives.
  2. Continue to resource the review and ongoing implementation of existing conservation (management) plans and put funding in place to undertake and implement new plans for built, archaeological and cultural heritage places and sites in Dublin city. As part of this objective:
    1. Encourage the use of the conservation (management) plan process by both the private and community sectors for places and sites not in state ownership.
    2. Identify and record places or building typologies of particular interest or vulnerability in Dublin city, in both public and private ownership, that would benefit from the conservation plan process.
  3. Identify threats to Dublin’s built, archaeological and cultural heritage as a result of climate change and as a result of climate adaptation measures. Provide guidance on the management of vulnerable heritage resources and advice on appropriate mitigation measures.
  4. Encourage the participation of community groups in actively managing Dublin’s built, archaeological and cultural heritage, including participation in national community heritage schemes.


Measures of success

  • Existing conservation (management) plans are fully implemented and new plans continue to be put in place by Dublin City Council and other parties.
  • The conservation (management) plan process is the accepted foundation for managing heritage places and sites in Dublin city - whether these are in public, private or community ownership and care.
  • The objectives of the built and archaeological heritage climate change sectoral adaptation plan are implemented.
  • The city coastline and areas of historically-reclaimed land are mapped and documented and appropriate policies for managing change are in place.
10. Communicating heritage

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Why this goal?

Where did this come from? What need is it addressing?

Dublin’s heritage - and the wealth of information that has been built up by the people and organisations who study it - is an extremely valuable resource. In order for as many people as possible to benefit from that resource, it must be communicated effectively.

Communicating heritage means making sure that everyone who wishes to know how to access heritage data and heritage research, as well as information about heritage resources, funding and infrastructure.

Communicating heritage means turning research data into knowledge - in the form of publications, online resources and other media - that can be used to inform tourism, economic, community development and educational activities.

Communicating heritage means promoting the national and international significance of aspects of Dublin’s built, archaeological and cultural heritage, including the international significance of Dublin’s Viking archaeology.

Communicating heritage means ensuring that the work of Dublin City Council in the heritage field (both within and outside the heritage office) and of the strategic heritage plan is clear, visible and accessible to all.

Strategic objectives

Objectives that will progress this goal.

  1. Develop a dedicated Dublin heritage website to provide access to heritage information and data and to updates on the work of the Dublin City Strategic Heritage Plan.
  2. Continue to disseminate high-quality information on Dublin’s built, archaeological, and cultural heritage through different means and media including exhibitions, pamphlets, publications, lectures and training.
  3. Collaborate with strategic partners to develop quality approaches to the interpretation of local and national built, archaeological and cultural heritage, based on sound research.
  4. Collaborate with strategic partners to produce and disseminate information that highlights the value of heritage to economic development, social wellbeing and environmental sustainability.
  5. Support the development and interpretation of collections that are representative of Dublin’s artistic, built, archaeological and cultural heritage.


Measures of success

  • A dedicated Dublin heritage website has been put in place.
  • New publications have been produced on topics relating to Dublin’s built, archaeological and cultural heritage.
  • An annual programme of events is in place, in collaboration with strategic partners. To include: lecture series, training courses, walking tours, exhibitions and other interpretative media.
  • An event - and interpretative materials - to mark the millennium of Christchurch cathedral in 2028 has been planned and organised in collaboration with strategic partners and community groups.
  • Clear, knowledge-based communication allows for effective heritage policy to be put in place, across a range of organisations.
  • Clear, knowledge-based communication supports the work of other groups and individuals within council.
  • The role of heritage in supporting cultural tourism is recognised and valued.
  • The implementation of Dublin City Council’s collections management policy is supported and progressed.
  • Dublin’s participation in the international Viking cultural route is supported.
11. Potential Strategic Heritage Plan Projects

The list of potential projects have been identified following extensive consultation with three expert working groups for Archaeology, Architectural Heritage and Cultural Heritage and a Your City Your Voice public survey conducted in 2021


Establish a specialist Dublin City Archaeological Forum to communicate the international significance of the city’s archaeological deposits and to support the implementation of archaeological projects in the strategic heritage plan.

Synthesize and map archaeological excavation data for Dublin thematically over time beginning with pre-historic evidence in Dublin city and county and publish the findings.

With key stakeholders produce a robust excavation record for Dublin –with a focus on important unreported sites in the city in order to retrieve the archaeological data, turn that into knowledge and make it publically accessible.

Participate in trans-national research projects to investigate and communicate the international significance of Viking Dublin.

Put in place programmes to communicate international significance of the Viking town of Dublin locally and internationally.

Support publication of archaeological excavation monographs on Dublin City excavations.

Review, update and make publically accessible the archaeological remains of Viking and medieval Dublin: a research framework (2010) to identify and safeguard areas of well-preserved archaeological deposits for posterity and to promote the intrinsic value of archaeology to place-making.

Explore feasibility for long-term preservation of ecofacts obtained in excavations in Dublin City for future research purposes.

Review current archaeological practice within the development sector, and define and agree best archaeological practice, and produce guidelines for archaeological excavations in Dublin City, to include all relevant specialist areas including environmental archaeology.

Grow and develop the St Anne’s Park community archaeology programme in partnership with the Parks Biodiversity and Landscape Services Department

Expand and update of the Dublin City industrial heritage record

Develop an industrial heritage publication series based on Dublin’s administrative areas.

Produce a scoping study for a ‘Museum of Dublin’ archaeological collection.

Support the Christ Church Cathedral millennium in 2028.

Ensure Dublin City Council’s participation in Destination Viking.

Review and update of City Walls and Defences Conservation Plan.

Put in place a monitoring regime, routine maintenance programme, and a conservation works programme for the City Walls at Ship Street, Cook Street and Lamb Alley.

Commission a series of heritage pamphlets of suburban neighbourhoods looking at archaeological sites, archaeological evidence, and the areas medieval history.

Actively seek sites for applications to the Community Monuments Fund and the adopt a monument scheme.

Update County Dublin Archaeology GIS Project in 2025.


Complete the twentieth-century architecture in Dublin research project; publish more than concrete blocks vol.iii and expand dissemination of the research to reach wider audiences (a digital guidebook and/or architectural audio guide); and develop public engagement programme.

Complete research on the wide streets commissioners in Dublin and their collections in the Dublin City archives and publish.

Disseminate The Decorative Plasterwork: The Dublin School c. 1745 – c. 1775 and produce and publish a plasterwork conservation guidance document.

Continue to research and publish on Dublin’s 18th century townhouses and their residents.

Publish Built to Last: Energy Efficiency Renovation in Dublin Dwellings and undertake new case study research.

Under the Built to Last suite of projects promote effective ongoing maintenance of historic homes in digestible leaflet form.

Case study research to examine cost-benefit of renovation and adaptive reuse rather than demolition and rebuilding for at risk building typologies in Dublin including places of worship and mid-to-late 20th century office buildings.

Production of concise and Dublin-specific conservation guidance documents: sash windows; energy efficiency upgrade measures; external paint schemes; accommodating bike storage, bins storage, car charging points in front gardens; 20th century building materials including concrete, faience, terracotta, and vitrolite; basic annual building maintenance and showcase the traditional building skills practiced in Dublin through various initiatives.

Produce user-friendly public guidelines on how to apply for a built heritage investment scheme and the historic structures fund conservation grant schemes.

Produce a thematic architectural survey of places of worship in Dublin and a review of adaptive re-use case studies.

Thematic survey of 18th and 19th century mews buildings and mews lanes in Dublin City.

Architectural character assessment and conservation guide for Marino to coincide with its centenary.

Continue the annual conserve your Dublin period house CPD course with the Irish Georgian Society.

Investigate the potential impacts of climate change on Dublin’s building stock and conservation-led adaptation measures.

Conservation management plan and conservation maintenance programme for historic public sculpture in Dublin City prioritising works on O’Connell Street and College Green.

Conservation management plan for the historic Liffey Bridges.

Develop proposals for submission to the Historic Towns Initiative.

Identify the historically important views and vistas in Dublin and develop a methodology for their assessment.

Support the Irish Historic Towns Atlas Dublin Suburbs series for Irishtown/Ringsend and Kilmainham/Inchicore.

Support the research and fieldwork for Buildings of Ireland Volume: Dublin Suburbs and County.

Cultural heritage

Carry out a baseline audit of oral history collections relevant to Dublin City to identify gaps and support new oral history initiatives based on best practice.

Public access to the Civic Museum Collection through research and exhibition.

Research and mapping project of queer social life in Dublin from the 1960s to early 1990s.

Continue the Dublin Through the Ages Heritage Interpretation Programme for Dublin Suburban Neighbourhoods.

Develop a Dublin Heritage website to provide open access to DCC commissioned surveys and research material and to communicate about Dublin’s heritage.

Develop a Dublin City heritage interpretation plan and implement specific initiatives using up-to-date low-cost technology and printed material.

Update existing heritage trails (i.e. Malton trail) and support development of new trails

Examine Dublin City’s colonial links and legacy, through its collections, street names, and key historical figures in Dublin’s history.

Document the heritage of new communities in Dublin.

Establish a Dublin heritage communities network to share experiences and foster participation and active citizenship.