The organisers of a major cross-border built heritage summer school in Donegal, Derry and Tyrone believe that the cultural, economic and tourism potential of conserving our historic buildings is immense.

That’s one of the messages that will be come from the ‘Conservation without Frontiers’ Summer School organised by the Ulster Architectural Heritage Society and Irish Georgian Society in association with Donegal County Council, Derry City & Strabane District Council and The Heritage Council.

The summer school runs from Wednesday, June 7 until Saturday, June 10.

“The purpose of the Cross-Border Built Heritage Summer School is to encourage the conservation, heritage-led regeneration and promotion of the built heritage of North West Ulster,” said Joseph Gallagher, County Donegal Heritage Officer.

“This special event brings together students, experts and enthusiasts to explore, discuss, debate and enjoy issues relating to our built heritage in the context of Donegal, Derry and Tyrone," he added.

The summer school will open on Wednesday evening, June 7 with a presentation by Dr. Barry O’Reilly on ‘Traditional Settlements in North West Ulster’ in the Regional Cultural Centre and the launch of an exhibition entitled ‘In Search of the Donegal Vernacular Cottage’ in the County Museum, Letterkenny.

Through photographs, illustrations and drawings from local and national collections, the exhibition highlights the distinctive forms and features of Donegal’s traditional dwellings.

The summer school programme includes presentations, fieldtrips, traditional building skills demonstrations and social events in Derry (Thursday, June 8) and Donegal (Friday, June 9).

The Director of the Summer School is architectural historian Kevin Mulligan, author of ‘The Buildings of Ireland – South Ulster’.  Speakers include archaeologist Dr. Brian Lacey, Paddy Matthews (Fáilte Ireland), Dr. Andrew McClelland (Maynooth University), Dr. Edward McParland (Trinity College Dublin), geographer Dr. Fidelma Mullane, Anna Meenan (The Heritage Council), Ronan O’Donnell (Townscape Heritage Initiative), Dr. Barry O’Reilly (National Inventory of Architectural Heritage), Dr. Greg Stevenson (Under the Thatch) and renowned architectural historian Prof. Alistair Rowan.

Special guest speaker will be Yaima Gill from RESTAURA – an historic preservation project based in Havana, Cuba.

There was intense competition for 30 free student places at the summer school that included attendance at the four-day event, three nights’ accommodation in Letterkenny as well as transport and meals during the event.

Architecture, geography, history and planning students from higher education institutions in Sligo, Galway, Limerick, Cork, Dublin, Dundalk, Belfast, Oxford, Cambridge and Scotland were among those successful in securing a free place. 

The students undertook assignments on Church Lane, Letterkenny and Boom Hall, Derry and the summer school will culminate with a student awards ceremony in Sion Mills, County Tyrone on Saturday, June 10.

If you would like further details about the summer school and to book a place, please contact the Ulster Architectural Heritage Society on (048) 9055 0213 or by e-mail at [email protected]  or register at www.igs.ie.

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