Working with heritage sites to protect Ireland’s historical monuments

10 December 2020

Ecclesiastical on working with heritage sites to protect Ireland’s historical monuments


Ireland’s heritage is quite unlike any other and we are famed for many things - one of the most famous historical monuments being the 5000-year-old Newgrange passage tomb located in the Boyne Valley in Co. Meath which dates back to approximately 3200 BC. To put that into perspective, Newgrange is older than the Great Pyramid of Giza in Egypt. No matter where you travel in the country, you will be greeted with a heritage site that teams of people worked hard to restore for future generations.  This is what makes Ireland unique.

In recent weeks, supermarket chain Lidl quite literally opened up a window to the past in their Aungier Street store.  The new outlet comes complete with a glass floor display of the remains of an 11th century house, providing shoppers with a rare and unique experience into the city’s medieval past. This is just one example of how important heritage is to us as a nation.  Our heritage sites are often somewhat younger too, with many buildings from as recently as midway through the last century being classed as ‘heritage’ buildings. These heritage buildings require specialist care and maintenance. And also, specialist insurance. At Ecclesiastical, our expert teams have deep knowledge and understanding of the specialist insurance needed and heritage insurance is one of four key pillars for us – the others being charities, faith, and education.

Defining Heritage

We define heritage as any property or activities with archaeological, historic, architectural, traditional, cultural, engineering or scientific significance. Within our heritage niche, our team write risks that operate from or have heritage property and/or carry out heritage activities. This means we protect modern, contemporary or unusual design, as well as buildings with architectural merit. The Ecclesiastical team has been operating in the UK since 1887 and has built over 130 years of strong pedigree in understanding and providing insurance for many different heritage properties in Ireland including but not limited to the following:

  • Historic houses
  • Georgian town houses
  • Country homes
  • Visitor centres
  • Castles and gardens
  • Churches and Cathedrals
  • Observatories
  • Theatres
  • Concert Halls
  • Fine Art Collections

We are extremely proud to make a real difference in protecting our nation's historic landmarks for future generations to enjoy. We protect the irreplaceable, not just bricks and mortar, objects or organisations but what they represent to the people who love and depend on them.

The team understands the complexities and unique nature of the challenges those working in a heritage building can face and because of this, Brokers we have worked with over the years have confidence when dealing with us. Heritage specialists have complemented our insurance expertise and our experience means that we have a comprehensive understanding of the unique nature of these locations. As well as specialist cover, we provide expert advice and support including health and safety guidance as well as our buildings valuation service which means even more certainty for the customer in the event of a loss

Insuring Heritage Properties

We offer our Brokers three heritage products to suit customer needs best, including;

  1. Historic Ireland: This policy is primarily focused on private heritage homes.
  2. Heritage Business & Leisure: This policy allows us to insure certain businesses operating from historical buildings and locations.
  3. Arts & Culture: This policy focuses on risks that provide a platform for the enjoyment of artistic and social activities, beliefs, values and/or traditions.

We can consider the usual areas including Buildings, Contents, Business Interruption, Employers, and Public Liability but we can also consider Fine Art, Reputational risks, Financial Lines, Fidelity, Equipment Breakdown, Money and Personal Accident.

When looking to insure a heritage risk either Private or Commercial, we ask our Brokers to include details of the following

  • Construction of buildings including walls, floors, stairs and roofs.
  • Occupancy/Business description – use of buildings and grounds/business activities etc.
  • Protections available in the building including fire alarm, intruder alarm etc.
  • Age and condition of electrics, plumbing, and roof of the building.
  • Distance to nearest fire brigade station.
  • Value of main building and all other outbuildings if applicable.

Five years claims history. I would encourage all brokers to consider a specialist solution for their heritage customers and for any additional information, please call us or visit our website for details of our full range of products and services

Mark Boylan is a senior member of our Sales team having over 25 years experience in the Insurance industry both here and internationally