Farming Rathcroghan has the distinction of being the only EIP in Ireland with a focus on farming in an archaeological landscape. Ireland is distinctive in Europe for the preservation of its archaeological heritage. Ireland’s approach to EIPs has been one of the most ambitious and successful in Europe and Farming Rathcroghan EIP has successfully demonstrated the ability to align the needs of farming and archaeology while actively enhancing both.
Rathcroghan is a world class archaeological landscape, being one of the best-preserved Royal landscapes in Ireland. The site is currently part of a serial nomination for inscription to the UNESCO World Heritage Site (WHS) list, under the heading ‘Royal Sites of Ireland’. The success of Farming Rathcroghan EIP is in taking a whole of landscape and place approach that best serves the project ambitions.
The Farming Rathcroghan EIP, as a locally led approach has delivered a unique ground breaking project over the last five years. The cooperation and support of the local farmers has been central to this success, addressing the care and preservation of the monuments and features, improving the socio-economic circumstances of the farming community and has established a best practice model.
Farming Rathcroghan EIP has identified the need to maintain a focus on farming for the protection of our heritage. Famers as the custodians of Ireland’s distinctive archaeological heritage within Europe are spearheading and embracing current project initiatives and are the primary beneficiaries of the project.
Further capacity has been identified in project to build greater resilience into agricultural practices at Rathcroghan, ensuring a higher success rate in achieving targets for protection of all aspects of the landscape, including archaeology, biodiversity, cultural heritage, water quality and mitigating the effects of climate change.
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The existing Farming Rathcroghan EIP has successfully delivered on all of the initial objectives in this 5-year programme 2019-2023 identified as.
- Delivered on the continued sustainable management of Rathcroghan landscape
- Implemented a best practice model with national and international implications
- Delivered targeted actions that preserve archaeology and unique landscape
- Developed and implemented a number of innovative archaeological protection products
- Provided a range of transferable training opportunities for all Rathcroghan farmers
- Improved and supported the viability of farms and sustainability of farming in the area
- Supported pilot systems to provide managed and structured public access on farms
- Delivered environmental and climate change actions as part of the project.
- Placed the farmers, as custodians of the landscape at the core of the project delivery.
- Over 75% of the core area of the Rathcroghan landscape directly managed by the project.
Rathcroghan Visitor Centre
The ongoing and continued partnership with the Rathcroghan Visitor Centre remains a strategic partnership alliance. As sister projects, where mutual cooperation exists, support funding for various shared initiatives, with the mutual ambition to chart a new way forward for the Rathcroghan region, will be pursued.
National Monuments Service
Given the cultural and archaeological importance of the Rathcroghan landscape, the positive working relationship that the project currently enjoys with the National Monuments Service will also remain an essential partnership into the future, particularly with regard to advice and guidance in relation to legislative, policy issues and best practice.
Office of Public Works
The Office of Public Works remain a vital strategic partner in the future development of the project. With key archaeological sites within the project area under State ownership and managed by the OPW, it is essential that existing relationships, communication and further cooperation be encouraged as a means of delivering on the ambitious goals of the project.
As the Agriculture and Food Development Authority and the national body providing integrated research, advisory and training services to the agriculture and food industry and rural communities, TEAGASC provides an important and essential role in project which will remain a strategic partner in project delivery.
The Heritage Council
The project has an established working relationship with the Heritage Council and the local authority Heritage Officer who have contributed to the salary costs of the Community Archaeologist, supported applications for various Heritage Council Grants and supported events for national annual Heritge Week events.
The development of the Rathcroghan Place Partnership with Fáilte Ireland has now moved to next steps in formalising governance and establishing steering group. Significant progress has been made in building a consensus around, and establishing readiness for, developing a locally-led, place-partnership encompassing the Royal Site of Rathcroghan.
University of Galway
The Memorandum of Understanding proposed between the project and the University of Galway is an exciting prospect. The role of the archaeological and historical research of Rathcroghan undertaken by third level institutions, and most especially that of the Department of Archaeology, University of Galway, in recent decades, has played a key role in raising national and international awareness of this cultural treasure.
Roscommon Leader Partnership
The Farming Rathcroghan EIP are currently part of the Climate Champions programme with the Roscommon Leader Partnership, which is an ERASMUS and adult education project empowering individuals to become effective advocates for sustainability at local level and uncover innovative solutions to tackle environmental challenges.
EU Just Transition Fund
The EU Just Transition Fund Programme 2021-2027 has the potential to become both a strategic and funding opportunity for the proposed Rathcroghan Heritage Farming. With its objectives of enabling regions and people to address the social, employment, economic and environmental impacts of the transition towards a climate neutral economy.