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Country Summary for IRELAND

I.  Relevant Legislation
II.  Regulated Cultural Property


'Archaeological area'area which the Commissioners consider to be of archaeological importance but does not include the area of a historic monument standing entered in the Register. (NMA 1987 §1)

'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. (NMA 1994 §14; NCIA §2 )

'Cultural object'includes museum heritage objects, library material and any other object or thing considered appropriate to be exhibited or kept by an institution specified in the Second Schedule (see S.I. No. 640 of 2002 for the Second Schedule). (NCIA §42)

'National Monument'monument or the remains of a monument the preservation of which is a matter of national importance by reason of the historical, architectural, traditional, artistic, or archaeological interest attaching thereto and … [any adjoining land required for access to or preservation of the monument]. (NMA 1930 §2)

'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; and
(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 theterritorial waters of the State, but does not include any building, or part of any building, that is habitually used for ecclesiastical purposes. (NMA 1987 §11)


The Minister shall establish and maintain a register of cultural objects the export of which would constitute a serious loss to the heritage of Ireland (“the register”). (NCIA §48(1))

The Minister may establish and maintain a record of cultural objects whose export has constituted a serious loss to the heritage of Ireland (“the record”). (NCIA §48(2))

The Minister may amend or, after consultation with the Heritage Council, delete an entry in the register or the record. (NCIA §48(7))

III.  Export Restrictions

IV.  Ownership Rights and Restrictions

V.  Violations, Penalties and Sanctions

VI.  International Conventions and Bilateral Agreements
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Country Contact
for Cultural Property
Seán Kirwan
Senior Archaeologist
National Monuments Service
Department of Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht
Room G54, Custom House
Dublin 1, D01 W6X0
Tel: +35318882125

Paul Connelly
National Monuments Service
Department of Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht
Room G50, Custom House
Dublin 1

Ph: +35318882159