Conserving rural heritage

The cases of England and Ireland

Authored by: Arthur Parkinson , John Pendlebury

The Routledge Companion to Rural Planning

Print publication date:  January  2019
Online publication date:  January  2019

Print ISBN: 9781138104051
eBook ISBN: 9781315102375
Adobe ISBN:


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What is considered heritage and how it is valued is culturally constructed and varies over time and space. This chapter presents a marked example where different attitudes prevail; rural heritage in England and Ireland, notwithstanding the similarities that exist between the countries in the way the respective countryside of the two countries was produced. In England the rural landscape has been normalised as something beautiful and important in constructions of national identity and has generally been subject to a planning approach of strict control. In Ireland the cultural context is very different. While the notion of a Gaelic rural idyll was invoked prominently in nation-building efforts in the early years after Irish independence, a low value has often been placed on rural built heritage, aspects of which have traditionally been linked with collective memory of colonial domination. This chapter will explore these two cases by looking at antecedents for these very different readings and imaginaries of rural heritage. It will then consider how these have fed into rural planning and regulation and specifically the management of rural heritage in the contemporary countryside.

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