Heritage

New research project underway to explore Donegal's historic lime kilns

Researchers seeking local assistance

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New research project underway to explore Donegal's historic lime kilns

A lime kiln in Tully near Dungloe.

A new research project into Donegal’s historic lime kilns is taking place in the county.
‘A Study of Lime Kilns in County Donegal’ has been commissioned by Donegal County Council and undertaken by John Cronin & Associates along with Dedalus Architecture.
Lime kilns are one of the most ubiquitous heritage structures in rural Donegal and are an important part of the agricultural, industrial and built heritage of the region.
Unfortunately, many of these structures have been removed in recent years due to lack of use, changes in agriculture, people being unaware of their existence, new rural developments and/or neglect. As a result, they are slowly disappearing from our landscape. Preliminary data collected by Donegal County Council includes the locations of approximately 5,000 lime kilns recorded throughout the county, and initial research indicates this number may only represent a fraction of the kilns that were constructed during the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries.
“Burning limestone in lime kilns decomposed the limestone and converted it to quick lime or burnt lime,” explained Joseph Gallagher, County Donegal Heritage Officer. “The lime was used in traditional building techniques, such as lime mortar or lime wash, and in agriculture, such as the application of lime to soils to reduce acidity and improve fertility, and as such the story of lime kilns has the ability to communicate part of the story of County Donegal’s
cultural landscape, built heritage and the practice of agriculture.”
Both John Cronin & Associates and Dedalus Architecture say they would be very grateful to receive any information, photographs, maps or advice the public can provide on lime kilns in your area on 074 – 936 1090 or by e-mailing linda.langford@johncronin.ie or via www.facebook.com/Study-of- Lime-Kilns- in-County- Donegal.