Ireland's industrial heritage is being changed and destroyed at an unknown rate. Over the past decade there has been a growing public awareness of Ireland's industrial heritage, as seen in a number of sites which have been restored by enthusiasts and are now open to the public as tourist and educational attractions. Although there is now official recognition of the importance of our industrial heritage, statutory protection is still low, due in the main to a backlog of listing of heritage structures.
The Industrial Heritage Association of Ireland (IHAI) was established in June 1996 to foster a greater understanding and appreciation of the many thousands of sites, monuments and items of machinery that together constitute our industrial heritage. IHAI Ltd. is a limited liability company registered in the Republic of Ireland and is managed by an Executive Committee made up of individuals who have a wide range of interests and specialisms in the subject.
Ireland's industrial heritage dates mainly from the late 18th century to the recent past and includes sites falling into the following groups:
Extractive industries such as mines, quarries and the peat industry.
Manufacturing industries, for example corn and textile mills.
Service industries mainly water, gas and electricity.
Power sources as in windmills, watermills and steam engines.
Transport and communications as expressed in roads, bridges, railways, canals, harbours and airfields.
The main objectives of the IHAI are:
To establish links between like-minded enthusiasts, societies and national institutions.
To promote a nationwide inventory, survey and record of all industrial sites.
To promote the marketing and presentation of industrial heritage sites.
To set up educational initiatives