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Built Heritage / Architecture

County Cavan is made up of many distinct communities of people. Our shared past, the unique or special nature of the area in which we live and our feeling of belonging combine to create sustainable communities in which people wish to live. One of the essential components in achieving this is the recognition, protection and enhancement of our built heritage and archaeology.

County Cavan has a rich and diverse architectural heritage which consists of man-made features. These may include residential dwellings, farmhouses, old schools, Churches, castles, thatched cottages, industrial buildings, gate lodges, shop fronts and walls to name but a few.

It is essential that our built heritage, especially structures that appear in the Record of Protected Structures and Architectural Conservation Areas are protected.

What is a Protected Structure?

A protected structure is a structure that is considered to be of special interest from an architectural, historical, archaeological, artistic, cultural, scientific, social or technical point of view and which has been included on the Record of Protected Structures. It can form part of a structure or be a group of structures.

The purpose of including structures or parts of structures on the RPS is to ensure that any works which, in the opinion if the Council, have a material effect on the character of the structure require planning permission. This ensures that potential changes or alterations to the character of the structure would be carried out in such a way that the existing character is retained.

Record of Protected Structures

In County Cavan there are approximately 470 structures listed on the Record of Protected Structures (RPS). The RPS is a list of structures held by Cavan County Council, which contains structures/ buildings considered to be of special interest in the County. The RPS forms part of the Cavan County Development Plan 2014-2020. The development plans are available to view at the local libraries and the Planning Office at Farnham Centre, Cavan, or can be downloaded below.

Once a structure is listed on the RPS as a Protected Structure, the designation includes the structure itself, its interior, the surrounding land or ‘curtilage’ of the structure, or any other structure (including boundaries) within the curtilage, their interiors and all fixtures and features of the structures. It can also include certain features in the attendant grounds. All features which contribute to the character and special interest of a protected structure are considered protected.

Download the Cavan County Development Plan, 2014 - 2020 (Word doc, 2621kb)

Download the County Cavan Record of Protected Structures (Word doc, 57kb)

What is the curtilage?

Curtilage is not defined by legislation, but as set out in the Architectural Heritage Protection Guidelines it can be taken to be the parcel of land immediately associated with that structure and which is (or was) in use for the purposes of the structure.
The extent of the curtilage will need to be determined on a case-by-case basis.

Carrying out works to a Protected Structure

Certain works that are normally considered exempted development may require planning permission when carried out to a protected structure. When carrying out works to a protected structure, the planning authority must be contacted to determine if they require planning permission.

Architectural Conservation Areas (ACAs)

Architectural Conservation Areas are ‘a place, area, group of structures or townscape, taking account of building lines and heights, that is of special architectural, historical, archaeological, artistic, cultural, scientific, social or technical interest or that contributes to the appreciation of a Protected Structure, and whose character it is an objective of a development plan to preserve’. In designating ACAs Cavan County Council seeks to guide change and development in areas of special heritage value or interest or where Protected Structures are affected. The aim is to retain the overall special architectural or historic character of an area or place.

A number of areas within County Cavan have been identified as candidate ACAs. Most structures within these ACAs are important in that they contribute to the overall streetscape or special character of the ACA and then to the area in which they are situated. Any works that would have a material effect on the character of the ACA will require planning permission.

During the lifetime of the County Development Plan 2008-2014 ACAs were designated in order to preserve, protect and enhance the character of the areas. The ACAs include

  • The Lawn Terrace, Belturbet
  • Main Street, Virginia
  • Redhills Village
  • Belturbet Diamond, Courthouse and Streetscape
  • Cootehill Lower Market Street
  • Kilmore Cathedral
  • Cootehill Residential Terrace on Monaghan Road.

Kilmore Cathedral




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