Archaeological Heritage

Our archaeological heritage is currently listed as the 'Record of Monuments and Places'. It is based on the 'Sites and Monuments Record' as compiled by the archaeological survey (part of the National Monuments Service). The 'Record' consists of two parts: a large, green-backed book of (reduced) six inch maps with all known 'recorded monuments' marked on them and an A4-sized book listing the classification of each monument. This document is put on public display at various prescribed venues on certain dates each year and is also availbale in public libraries and at council offices. The 'Record' is now also available online at Archaeological Survey.

There is no direct notification to landowners, who are expected to find out for themselves that their site is listed. This is obviously a less than ideal situation. There are around 1,500 monuments on the RMP for Louth. Louth County Council previously employed a Field Monuments Advisor, with funding assistance from the Heritage Council, to visit owners of recorded monuments, to provide them with some information about their monuments and the best ways to manage them but this post had to be cut for budgetary reasons.

A few dozen of these 'recorded monuments' are also 'National Monuments' i.e. sites important enough to have been taken into direct State-ownership or guardianship. The current interpretation of the National Monuments Act 2004 makes all recorded monuments in the ownership of a statutory body, such as a council, a 'National Monument'. Guidance issued in 2009 stated that all (mediaeval) town walls and defences are also 'National Monuments'. It is on this basis that Louth County Council and Drogheda Borough Council are planning the conservation of the town walls of Ardee, Carlingford and Drogheda, respectively.