Ms Clare McGrath
The Irish Heritage Trust announced this week the election of Clare McGrath as its new Chairman.
Ms McGrath, from Ballingarry, brings a wealth of experience in the fields of heritage and management to the Trust following a distinguished career in public service. Her knowledge of the heritage sector in Ireland is combined with a passion for the inclusive strategic approach to share authority and benefit the communities that surround the Irish Heritage Trust’s historic properties.
“I am delighted to have the opportunity to lead the Irish Heritage Trust into this exciting period of development. Over the last eleven years the Trust has successfully demonstrated ways to create greater public benefit by developing new ways of operating. This is visible at Fota House & Gardens (Cork), which is now financially secure and brought back to life with vibrant participation initiatives and significant community support,” said Ms McGrath.
Ms McGrath qualified as a barrister from King’s Inns and in 2003 was appointed as a Commissioner in the Office of Public Works (OPW), the first woman to join its Board within its then 170-year history. Clare was appointed Chairman of the OPW in September 2009 and remained in that role until her retirement in late 2016.
Clare McGrath succeeds James Osborne who died in August 2017 and who served on the Board since the Trust was established in 2006 and had been Chairman from 2012. “I would also like to take this opportunity to acknowledge the work of James Osborne who was committed to the Trust for over a decade, the last five years as Chairman. He energetically led the Trust and had a particular interest in encouraging business to get involved and match the support and commitment made by local communities to Trust properties,” she continued.
In addition to acquiring Fota House in 2007, the Irish Heritage Trust became responsible for Strokestown Park and the National Famine Museum (Roscommon) in 2015 and is partnering with Teagasc and the Irish Agricultural Museum to undertake conservation work and develop a new and exciting visitor experience at Johnstown Castle, Estate and Gardens (Wexford) in 2019. The Trust is based in No. 11 Parnell Square, Dublin and is working in partnership with Poetry Ireland to open up the property for public access through the creation of the Poetry Ireland Centre.