HC Deb 13 May 1907 vol 174 cc583-6

To ask the Secretary to the Treasury to state the number of the ancient monuments in Ireland and their names vested in the Board of Works since the passing of the Purchase Act of 1903; whether any arrangements have been made between the Board of Works and the Estates Commissioners for dealing with the question of the preservation of ancient monuments in Ireland; whether the Hill of Tara or any part of it has been vested in the Board of Works; what ancient monuments have been repaired by the Board of Works within the past twelve months; and whether any steps have been taken by the Board for the protection of those monuments vested in them from injury.

(Answered by Mr. Runciman.)1. The monuments vested in the Board since the passing of the Purchase Act, 1903, are—

  • Grianan of Aileach, county Donegal.
  • Creevalea Abbey, county Leitrim.
  • St. Mary's Church, county Wicklow.
  • Kill o' the Grange Church, county Dublin.
  • Inishkeen Round Tower, county Monaghan.
  • Grey Abbey, county Down.

The Board have agreed to accept the guardianship of the following, but they are not yet vested—

Of these ten monuments two, Callan Abbey, county Kilkenny, and Ballyboggan Abbey, were offered by the Estates Commissioners and the remainder by private owners.

2. In accordance with the terms of the Act the Estates Cmmissioners communicate to the Board of Works the name and position of all ancient monuments situated on estates being sold under the Act, and the Board, after investigation, inform the Estates Commissioners in each case whether the character and condition of the monument justify the Board in assuming responsibility for its care and maintenance.

3. The Answer is in the negative. The earthworks on the Hill of Tara were scheduled to the Ancient Monument Protection Act of 1882, giving the Board power to protect them from injury by any person except the owners. So far the owners have declined to constitute the Board guardians of these earthworks. †Subject to arrangements being made for control of burials.

4. The following monuments have been repaired by the Board during the year ended 31st March, 1907:—

5. The amount expended by the Board on the protection and maintenance of ancient monuments during the year ended 31st March, 1907, has been:—

£ s. d.
(a) From Voted Moneys 510 18 6
(b) National Monuments Fund 593 19 5
1,104 17 11

The preservation of these monuments is one of the duties of the Board's technical staff and is under the particular direction of one of their principal surveyors who has special qualifications. Every monument in the Board's charge is inspected as far as possible at least once in each year, and a Report sent to the Board as to its condition. Further, at the more important monuments there are resident caretakers.