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Cox, Ronald; Gould, Micheal.
The Infrastructural Heritage of a Rural Economy
First International and Eighth Australian Engineering Heritage Conference 1996: Shaping Our Future; Proceedings
Institution of Engineers, Australia, Barton, Australian Capital Territory, 1996, pp. 21-27

Until relatively recently, the economy of Ireland could be regarded as being dependent primarily on agriculture. Despite this, the country possesses a well developed infrastructure of roads, railways and inland waterways, together with their associated bridges, viaducts and aqueducts. Other important elements comprise docks and harbours, lighthouses and water supplies. The roads infrastructure is still expanding on its historical base, but the rail network has been reduced by nearly 60% and most navigations have been abandoned as commercial waterways, and are used solely for recreational purposes. Modified and added to over the centuries, the present infrastructure forms a large part of Ireland's engineering heritage. This paper presents a brief overview of Ireland's engineering heritage and describes the work of recording and assessment. Some notable examples are included. The importance of using local modifying factors in any general assessment of the historical significance and worthiness of engineering structures is discussed. Information is provided on the National Engineering Heritage Database, the recently established Centre for Civil Engineering Heritage, and the several organisations involved with the recording and protection of engineering heritage in Ireland.

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