The Lea Castle Conservation Project Working Group were delighted to learn recently that they had once again been successful in their application for funding from the Heritage Council under their 2015 allocation of grants for community projects. In 2014 the group had received €8,000 in grant aid to begin work on a conservation plan for Lea Castle. This year the Heritage Council has awarded a further €6,000 to the group to continue the work begun in 2014. This year only 197 projects out of 600 applicants were awarded grants, which is an indication of the importance of the project.

Portarlington Arts & Heritage Group's photo.

Portarlington Arts & Heritage Group photo of Lea Castle.

After a long and very detailed application process the group were recently granted a licence to begin a programme of vegetation management at the site. This has to be carried out under strict supervision due to the sensitive nature of the area from an ecological perspective.  The new grant will help fund this work and also allow the group to carry out a detailed geophysical survey of the area surrounding the castle.

The group received further good news when they learned that they were being invited to present a paper on “Medieval Castles and their Communities” at an international conference to be held in UCD from July 1 to 3. This will bring Lea Castle to the attention of a very wide group of academics and scholars in a wide field of medieval studies, and is a huge achievement for a small newly formed group. The speakers from the group will be Karen Dempsey and P.J. Goode and they will be joined on the panel by Prof Kieran O’Connor from UCG and Prof Tadgh O’Keeffe of the UCD School of Archaeology who will chair the event.

Stunning shot of Lea Castle. Thanks to Con Murphy Photographer

Stunning shot of Lea Castle. Thanks to Con Murphy Photography

The group has recently completed a detailed conservation report on Lea Castle which they are currently publishing and which will be officially launched during Heritage Week 2015 in August. Copies of the report will be on sale to the public following the official launch.