Heritage Definition

Heritage definitions as outlined in the Heritage Act, 1995.

Archaeological object

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.

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.


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.


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.


The study of the plant 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 of any other items of scientific interest, and includes geomorphology, lithology and mineralogy.

Heritage Gardens and Parks

Includes areas of natural heritage, and gardens and parks whose plant collections, design, design features, buildings, setting, style or association are of significant, botanical, aesthetic or historical interest or which illustrate some aspect of the development of gardening or of gardens or parks.

Heritage objects

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

Canals, canalised sections of rivers and lakes, navigation channels in rivers and lakes, and their associated navigational features.


Includes areas, sites, vistas and features of significant scenic, archaeological, geological, historical, ecological or other scientific interest.


Includes the following, whether above or below the surface of the ground or the water and whether affixed or not affixed to the ground:

  • any artificial or partly artificial building, structure or erection or group of such buildings, structures or erections,
  • 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,
  • any, or any part of any, prehistoric or ancient
    • tomb, grave or burial deposit, or
    • ritual, industrial or habitation site and
  • 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


Areas and sites of coastal water including estuaries, bays and lagoons of significant scenic, geological, ecological or other scientific interest.

Wildlife habitat

The ecological environment in which particular organisms and communities thereof thrive.


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 formally contained in or on a vessel and are lying on, in or under the sea bed or on or in land covered by water.