Access: Improving the accessibility of historic buildings and places

The vision of the National Disability Authority is the creation of an inclusive Irish society in which people with disabilities enjoy equal rights and opportunities to participate in the economic, social and cultural life of the nation and of an environment which is accessible to all. One of the key requirements for an inclusive and sustainable society is that everyone should be able to participate in and enjoy the social, economic and cultural assets of that society. Historic buildings and places are a significant asset, a unique and irreplaceable resource which reflects a rich and diverse expression of past societies and forms an integral part of local, regional and national cultural identity. Historic buildings and places, important in themselves for their intrinsic cultural heritage value, are also significant because of their uses as places where people work, live and enjoy everyday activities.

Access: Improving the accessibility of historic buildings and places” was developed by the Department of Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltachtas part of their Advice Series of booklets. The booklets are designed to guide those responsible for historic buildings on how best to maintain, repair and adapt their properties.

For some people, barriers exist which make visiting and using historic buildings and places difficult or sometimes impossible. Making the built heritage more accessible in an appropriate and sensitive manner can increase awareness and appreciation of its cultural, social and economic value. It assists in meeting society’s requirement to protect its architectural heritage, whilst also meeting the need to provide equal access for all, as far as is practicable.

The purpose of this guidance is to advise those who own, manage or care for buildings and places of architectural heritage significance on the options available to them to improve accessibility. It also provides guidance and information for anyone with an interest or involvement in issues surrounding the accessibility of historic buildings and places.

This publication is in ‘Accessible PDF’ format. It includes the necessary structural and descriptive information to ensure that everybody has full access to the contents of the publication. People who use screen reading tools or other assistive technologies should be able to navigate and read this publication with ease.

Printed copies of this booklet are available through the Government Publications Sales Office, Molesworth Street, Dublin 2, Irish bookshops or online from