Heritage Act, 1995


2.—(1) In this Act—

“archaeological object” means any chattel whether in a manufactured or partly manufactured or an unmanufactured state which by reason of the archaeological interest attaching thereto or of its association with any Irish historical event or person has a value substantially greater than its intrinsic (including artistic) value, and the said expression includes ancient human, animal or plant remains;

“archaeology” means the study of past human societies, either as a whole or of various aspects of them, through the material remains left by those societies and the evidence of their environment, and includes the study of, searching and prospecting for—

(a) archaeological objects,

(b) monuments,

(c) buildings, or parts of any buildings, habitually used for ecclesiastical purposes,

(d) landscapes,

(e) seascapes,

(f) wrecks,

(g) climatological, ecological, geological or pedological factors which may be relevant to the understanding of past human societies or the distribution or nature of any of the foregoing;

“architectural heritage” includes all structures, buildings, traditional and designed, and groups of buildings including street-scapes and urban vistas, which are of historical, archaeological, artistic, engineering, scientific, social or technical interest, together with their setting, attendant grounds, fixtures, fittings and contents, and, without prejudice to the generality of the foregoing, includes railways and related buildings and structures and any place comprising the remains or traces of any such railway, building or structure;

“Commissioners” means the Commissioners of Public Works in Ireland;

“the Council” means the body established under section 5 ;

“the establishment day” means the day appointed under section 5 to be the establishment day for the purposes of this Act;

“fauna” means all wild birds and all wild animals (both aquatic and terrestrial) and includes in particular fish, wild mammals, reptiles, non-aquatic invertebrate animals and amphibians, and all such wild animals' eggs, larvae, pupae or other immature stage and young, but in relation to fish or aquatic invertebrate animals (or their eggs or spawn or other immature stage or brood or young) only includes fish and such aquatic invertebrate animals of a species specified in regulations under section 23 of the Wildlife Act, 1976 , which are for the time being in force;

“flora” means all plants (both aquatic and terrestrial) which occur in the wild (whether within or outside the State) other than trees, shrubs or plants being grown in the course of agriculture, forestry or horticulture and includes in particular lichens, mosses, liverworts, fungi, algae and vascular plants, namely flowering plants, ferns and fern-allied plants and any community of such plants;

“functions” includes powers and duties;

“geology” means the study of the planet Earth as a whole or in part, the materials of which it is made, the processes that act and have acted upon these materials and the products and structures formed by such action, the physical and biological history of the planet since its origin including the history of life preserved as fossils in rocks and deposits at the surface or in layers beneath the surface of the earth, stratigraphic succession, caves, fossil content or any other items of scientific interest, and includes geomorphology, lithology and mineralogy;

“heritage building” includes any building, or part thereof, which is of significance because of its intrinsic architectural or artistic quality or its setting or because of its association with the commercial, cultural, economic, industrial, military, political, social or religious history of the place where it is situated or of the country or generally, and includes the amenities of any such building;

“heritage gardens and parks” includes areas of natural heritage, andgardens and parks whose plant collections, design, design features, buildings, setting, style or association are of significant scientific, botanical, aesthetic or historical interest or which illustrate some aspect of the development of gardening or of gardens and parks;

“heritage objects” means objects over 25 years old which are works of art or of industry (including books, documents and other records, including genealogical records) of cultural importance;

“inland waterways” means canals, canalised sections of rivers and lakes, navigation channels in rivers and lakes, and their associated navigational features;

“landscape” includes areas, sites, vistas and features of significant scenic, archaeological, geological, historical, ecological or other scientific interest;

“the Minister” means the Minister for Arts, Culture and the Gaeltacht;

“monument” includes the following, whether above or below the surface of the ground or the water and whether affixed or not affixed to the ground:

(a) any artificial or partly artificial building, structure or erection or group of such buildings, structures or erections,

(b) any cave, stone or other natural product, whether or not forming part of the ground, that has been artificially carved, sculptured or worked upon or which (where it does not form part of the place where it is) appears to have been purposely put or arranged in position,

(c) any, or any part of any, prehistoric or ancient—

(i) tomb, grave or burial deposit, or

(ii) ritual, industrial or habitation site,


(d) any place comprising the remains or traces of any such building, structure or erection, any such cave, stone or natural product or any such tomb, grave, burial deposit or ritual, industrial or habitation site,

situated on land or in the territorial waters of the State, but does not include any building, or part of any building, that is habitually used for ecclesiastical purposes;

“public authority” means—

(a) a Minister of the Government,

(b) the Commissioners of Public Works in Ireland,

(c) a local authority for the purposes of the Local Government Act, 1941 ,

(d) a regional authority within the meaning of the Local Government Act, 1991 ,

(e) a harbour authority within the meaning of the Harbours Act, 1946 ,

(f) a health board established under the Health Act, 1970 ,

(g) a board or other body established by or under statute,

(h) a company in which all the shares are held by, or on behalf of, or by directors appointed by, a Minister of the Government,


(i) a company in which all the shares are held by a board, company, or other body referred to in paragraph (g) or (h) of this definition;

“seascape” means areas and sites of coastal water including estuaries, bays and lagoons of significant scenic, geological, ecological or other scientific interest;

“wildlife habitat” means the ecological environment in which particular organisms and communities thereof thrive;

“wreck” means a vessel, or part of a vessel, lying wrecked on, in or under the sea bed or, on or in land covered by water, and any objects contained in or on the vessel, and any objects that were formerly contained in or on a vessel and are lying on, in or under the sea bed or on or in land covered by water.

(2) In this Act a reference to a section or schedule is a reference to a section or schedule of this Act, unless there is an indication that a reference to any other enactment is intended.

(3) In this Act a reference to a subsection, paragraph or subparagraph is a reference to the subsection, paragraph or subparagraph of the provision in which the reference occurs, unless there is an indication that a reference to some other provision is intended.

(4) In this Act a reference to any enactment shall be construed as a reference to that enactment as amended or adapted by or under any subsequent enactment.