8. Natural and Built Heritage

closeddate_range24 Sep, 2020, 4:00pm - 9 Nov, 2020, 4:01pm


To safeguard, showcase and support the sustainable development of the natural and built heritage of the town; enhancing amenity and providing a high-quality environment for locals, visitors and future generations. 

8.1       Introduction

The character of Cahir is defined by the River Suir, its Castle and its historic buildings and streetscapes. This natural and built heritage is of international importance and has created a town with an exceptional environmental quality for locals to enjoy and visitors to experience.  The Strategic Aim of the Plan is to safeguard this heritage, while supporting development to enhance and protect the town’s character and to facilitate heritage and tourism led regeneration opportunities. This Chapter will set out polices and objectives of the Plan to support this aim.

8.2       Natural Heritage and Designated Sites

The River Suir and its corridor is a designated Special Area of Conservation (SAC) protected under the EU Habitats Directive (92/43/EEC) and of conservation importance for several rare plant and animal species. In accordance with the Habitats Directive, the Plan has been subject to an Appropriate Assessment to ensure that policies and objectives do not adversely impact on the integrity of this site. The Council will further implement the requirements of the Habitats Directive for all development proposals and where necessary will seek the submission of ecological impact assessments to ensure that development proposals do not impact on the integrity of the River Suir and its conservation status.

The Council will support development along the River Corridor only where it has been demonstrated that water quality is protected, and its biodiversity value is enhanced in accordance with best practice principles of green and blue infrastructure planning. The Council will also seek to safeguard Cahir Park Woodland, a proposed Natural Heritage Area (pNHA), designed for its importance as an Irish Yew woodland and to support Coillte and other stakeholders in its continued restoration and enhancement.

8.3       Environment and Climate Action

The quality of our environment and the impacts of climate change are inextricably linked. The Climate Action Plan (2019), National Mitigation Plan (2017) and National Adaptation Framework (2018) represent a renewed ambition that climate action requires a multi-sectoral effort nationally, regionally and locally.

Tipperary County Council has put in place a suite of climate focused strategies including Renewable Energy Strategy (2016), Sustainable Energy Plan (2017) and Climate Adaptation Strategy (2019-2024). This Plan will seek to deliver and build on the objectives of the Plan as they relate to Cahir, including as outlined in Chapter 5 the objective to develop a toolkit or ‘Climate Action Checklist’ for the integration of climate action measures in the design of mixed use and residential schemes. In accordance with the requirements under the Habitats Directive, the Plan will seek to ensure that new plans or projects would not result in significant climatic impacts on European sites as a result of their scale, resource or transportation requirements, operation or emissions, either cumulatively or in combination with other development.  

8.4       Green and Blue Infrastructure

The Green & Blue Infrastructure Masterplan Roadmap for Tipperary Waterways (2018) provides a high-level framework for developing green and blue infrastructure in Cahir. Building on the issues identified in this report, subject to resources, the Council will seek to undertake a ‘Green and Blue Infrastructure Strategy’ for the study area identified below. This study will set out:

  • Key objectives and outcomes for alterations and improvements
  • Potential synergies and linkages with other plans, such as the Suir Blueway
  • How green and blue infrastructure can be managed to accommodate increased use and visitor numbers, and accommodate improved links and amenity walks
  • Opportunity areas and priority action areas
  • Opportunities for flood risk management, sustainable urban drainage systems, building ‘stepping stone’ habitats;

Figure 19: Green & Blue Infrastructure Study Area

8.5       Built Heritage & Archaeology

Cahir has a high-quality built heritage, dating from the early part of the 12th century when the King of Thomand, Conor na Cathrach O’Brien built the castle on the site of an earlier earthen fort. From the late 18th century, the modern development of the town took place. Prominent buildings such as Cahir House, the Market House and the Inn were built during the late 1700s and early 1800s. Manor Mills on the bridge of Cahir, The Suir Mills on the Cashel Road, and the Cahir Abbey Mills were built in the years 1775-1790, reminders of the impressive industrial heritage of Cahir. St. Paul’s Church, Erasmus House and Swiss Cottage were all designed by John Nash, one of the foremost architects of the Regency and Georgian eras, and best known for his work on Buckingham Palace.  

Cahir has an Architectural Conservation Area and Zone of Archaeological Potential, which are detailed in Map 2 appended to this Plan. These areas will be managed and developed in accordance with the policies set out in the relevant legislation, the County Development Plan and the policies sets out in the Town Centre section above.

In accordance with the policies of the CDP, the Council will encourage the sympathetic restoration, re-use and maintenance of protected structures thereby ensuring their conservation and protection. In considering proposals for development, the Council will have regard to the Architectural Heritage Protection Guidelines for Planning Authorities, (DAHG 2011) or any amendment thereof, and proposals that will have an unacceptable impact on the character and integrity of a protected structure or adjoining protected structure will not be permitted.

8.6       Protected Views

Given the national significance of Cahir Castle, any development to the castle or within its setting should preserve and enhance its setting. Views of the castle from the south are safeguarded by the amenity lands surrounding it. The CDP includes two protected views (V091 & V092, Appendix 4 of the CDP) which seek to ensure views of this historic monument are protected and enhanced by any development proposals.  

An additional protected view within the LAP boundary is included to safeguard built heritage within the CDP (V091 & V092, Appendix 4) at the junction of Old Church Street and Market Street and two additional protected views are included to safeguard views of the Galtee Mountains. New development affecting any of these protected views will be required to have regard to the setting, the significance of the view, and the heritage or landscape asset the views seek to protect.

Natural and Built Heritage Policy

It is the policy of the Council to:


Protect and conserve the integrity and ecological and biodiversity value of the Lower River Suir SAC and the Cahir Woodlands NHA.  Ensure that any development proposals within or adjacent to the Lower River Suir SAC are appropriately screened, and assessed if necessary, in accordance with the Habitats Directive.


Seek to ensure that new plans or projects would not result in significant climatic impacts on European sites because of their scale, resource or transportation requirements, operation or emissions, either cumulatively or in combination with other development.


Ensure the setting and character of Cahir Castle is safeguarded and enhanced in the assessment of new development proposals. 


Safeguard sites, features and objects of archaeological interest (in situ where practicable or as a minimum, preservation by record) included in the Record of Monuments and Places and sites.


Specific Objectives

It is an objective to:


Work in partnership with stakeholders and the local community in the delivery of projects identified for Cahir Town in the Green & Blue Infrastructure Masterplan Roadmap for Tipperary Waterways (TCC, 2018) and seek funding opportunities as they arise.


Support and work with the local community in the development of blue and green infrastructure in the town and in the enhancement of the biodiversity and conservation value of the river corridor.