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Policy Information

Built Heritage

Published: 9 January 2020
From: Office of Public Works


The government has a duty to conserve the heritage of buildings and monuments in State care while allowing and encouraging the public to visit them. The Office of Public Works (OPW) is responsible for caring, maintaining and operating the country’s most important heritage sites.

Iconic Irish sites ranging from the Phoenix Park in Dublin to the Poulnabrone Dolmen in the Burren, Co Clare, are looked after by the Office of Public Works (OPW).

Cultural Heritage

These sites are an integral part of Ireland’s cultural heritage.

Two of these are World Heritage Sites – Brú na Bóinne and Skellig Michael.

But the country's heritage sites also include a large number of smaller, less well known but significant properties of national importance. In total, the Office of Public Works looks after 780 sites.

The list includes historical houses such as Farmleigh, gardens like the Garden of Rememberance and St Stephen's Green, historic battle sites like the Battle of the Boyne – and islands of cultural importance, such as the Great Blasket in Co Kerry.

View a full list of heritage sites on the Heritage Ireland website.


Millions of Irish and foreign visitors visit our heritage sites every year to learn about Ireland’s history and culture. Seventy of the country's most popular sites have a Guide Service, either full-time or on a seasonal basis.

These guides provide tours and talks. In 2016, 6.6 million visitors came to these sites to enjoy them, their interpretive displays and the pamphlets and newsletters provided. Many more millions of visitors enjoy unmanned sites.

External Relationships

Office of Public Works Heritage Services works with other official agencies and partners who have key roles in promoting Ireland’s heritage.

These include:

In addition, we co-operate with a number of parties with an interest in Heritage, including:

  • local history groups and societies
  • archaeological groups
  • academic and cultural institutions

Further information

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