Minister Deenihan opens Ninth Annual Historic Houses of Ireland Conference at NUI Maynooth

On Wednesday 8 June 2011, Jimmy Deenihan, T.D., Minister for Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht, opened the Ninth Annual Historic Houses of Ireland Conference at the National University of Ireland, Maynooth, Co Kildare. The theme of this year’s conference is ‘Past and Future Perspectives’

Speaking to the crowd who gathered in Callan Hall, Minister Deenihan stated: 'It is up to us collectively in the heritage community to be imaginative, at a time of diminished resources, to see what new ways are possible to protect and promote heritage which we care so much about.' He also posed some questions for those in attendance to discuss: 'in the context of the Departmental restructuring and public service reform, the question I would ask you to ponder is whether the various heritage bodies, trusts and organisations - public and private - are best structured to channel the energies of the build heritage community?' He also added that 'Ireland’s heritage and cultural package is a key motivator for our overseas visitors in choosing this island as their holiday destination' and referred to the high number of foreign and domestic visitors to our historic houses and gardens.The Minister also referred to the recent sad deaths of Ambrose Congreve, aged 104, of Congreve Gardens, Waterford and two great chroniclers of the Irish historic houses, Maurice Craig and Mark Bence-Jones, remarking: 'All three made very great contributions, in their own areas of expertise and endeavour, and they will be sadly missed.'

In his address, Minister Deenihan also launched a volume of essays entitled The Irish Country House: its past, present and future, edited by Dr Terence Dooley and Dr Christopher Ridgway.