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Full Programme Announced: Ruins to Riches

FREE events programme on ways to revive, repurpose, and reimagine our traditional buildings.

Posted on: 22nd February 2021

UAH is excited to present Ruins to Riches, a free online event delivered as a partnership between Armagh City, Banbridge and Craigavon Borough Council, Department for Communities Historic Environment Division and Ulster Architectural Heritage.

Ruins to Riches offers the opportunity for owners, professionals and the general public to learn more about traditional buildings through a series of free online workshops given by specialist speakers.

The aim of the seminars is to inspire owners and interested groups to look at potential new uses for rural vernacular buildings, get practical guidance on repair and maintenance, hear from funders and discover ways to bring new life to forgotten buildings.

The island of Ireland has seen a huge decline in vernacular buildings, particularly in vernacular homes, from the mid-20th century to the present day; making surviving examples ever more precious. As with all historic buildings, an understanding of the history of the building and the materials used in their construction are vital in ensuring that repair and restoration work is sympathetic, and does not damage its character or built fabric.

The free workshops will allow the general public easy access to additional information about policy and planning, traditional materials and skills, and historical background; as well as discussing relevant heritage projects.

The event will be launched by the Lord Mayor of Armagh, Cllr Kevin Savage, with a special introduction to the event from Joe Mahon; who will discuss That word: “Vernacular” which promises to be a hugely entertaining look at his experiences, and what constitutes vernacular architecture.

The event will also feature speakers from: National Lottery Heritage Fund, the National Inventory of Architectural Heritage, the Department for Communities: Historic Environment Division and the Mourne Heritage Trust; as well as published academics and traditional skills practitioners. Author of The Irish Cottage: History, Culture and Design (2017), Marion McGarry, will also be delivering a talk on Irish Cottages and Folk Customs as part of the event.

A full programme can be found on the UAH website:

Nikki McVeigh, Chief Executive of Ulster Architectural Heritage:

“UAH is excited to be working with ABC Council and HED on Ruins to Riches. The island of Ireland has a hugely rich architectural heritage, and this event presents a fantastic opportunity to discuss our vernacular buildings; and allows the general public to benefit from free expert guidance to assist in their restoration and reuse. “

Lord Mayor of Armagh Banbridge Craigavon Borough Council, Cllr Kevin Savage:

“ABC Council in partnership with HED and UAH are delighted to be able to run ‘Ruins to Riches’. Our countryside has many examples of rural vernacular buildings and it is wonderful to be able to learn more about them through the great speakers we have organised. We look forward to this event starting in March.”

Department for Communities Minister Deirdre Hargey:

“I am delighted that my Department has been able to support this seminar via its Historic Environment Fund. As we start thinking about recovery from Covid19 it is important that we are creative and utilise the full potential of our surroundings. Our rich heritage of historic rural buildings are unique and are an important asset that can help recovery through:  reinforcing community pride of place, contributing to our wellbeing, helping tourism to recover, and allowing skilled jobs to be sustained.”

Ruins to Riches will run from 1st – 12th March online, via Zoom. Book through UAH website:

Keep up to date. Follow @ulsterahs on Twitter #RuinsToRiches

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