The Minister for Environment, Heritage and Local Government, Mr John Gormley, T.D. has launched the 'Irish Walled Towns Book'.
The extensively illustrated book aims to bring the history of Ireland's Walled Towns to life. It seeks to convey the stories and accounts of the main personalities involved in their development and evolution and explores the wider role of these fortified towns in Ireland's socio-economic history.
It provides a useful baseline to inform the future conservation, preservation, management and promotion of these iconic settlements for the benefit of current and future generations in Ireland and for all visitors to our island.
Speaking at the launch, the Minister said - "Experience in conservation has shown that it is not enough to be concerned with work required to physically secure the remaining walls and structures. It is equally important to ensure that local people are fully involved in the conservation and management process. Therefore, the story of Walled Towns' works need to be communicated to a wide audience in a vibrant and interesting manner. The Walled Towns Book is a further example of the innovative approach taken by the members of the Network."
Pointing to the very significant tourist attraction which Walled Towns represent, the Minister said - "I understand that Fáilte Ireland will be launching this publication in New York and in Washington during the St Patrick's Day celebrations to promote tourism from the US to these locations."
The Heritage Council established the Irish Walled Towns Network in April 2005 to unite and co-ordinate the strategic efforts of local authorities involved in the management and conservation of historic walled towns in Ireland - both North and South. The network has grown to 20 members.
The book is the result of an eight-month consultative and information-gathering period - involving the Heritage Council and the Irish Walled Towns Network, the Department of Environment, Heritage and Local Government, Local Authorities, the Royal Irish Academy, the National Library, Trinity College Dublin and NUI Maynooth.