Introduction To National Heritage Week
Every year millions of Europeans visit historical monuments and sites throughout Europe on European Heritage Days. These are a joint initiative of the Council of Europe and the European Union in which over forty countries participate each year. The main aim of European Heritage Days are to promote awareness of our built, natural and cultural heritage and to promote Europe’s common cultural heritage. In Ireland we celebrate European Heritage Days with a full week of events throughout National Heritage Week.
The Heritage Council coordinates National Heritage Week with support from the Department of Arts, Heritage and The Gaeltacht, as well as Local Government & Failte Ireland.
Aim of National Heritage Week
The aim of National Heritage Week is to build awareness and education about our heritage thereby encouraging its conservation and preservation.
Each year many national and hundreds of local community organisations participate by organising events throughout the country. Many of the events that take place during the week are free and the programme highlights the abundance of great work that is carried out in all communities in Ireland to preserve and promote our natural, built and cultural heritage.
Whether it is nature and wildlife, folklore, or built heritage, National Heritage Week aims to deliver messages and events that are positive, engaging and relevant in people’s day to day lives. Any person or organisation can actively take part in the Week and organise an event which educates people and promotes an aspect of Irelands Heritage.
Events hosted nationwide are hugely diverse in subject and many are organised by local communities lending great authenticity and variety to the events. Examples of events (to name but a few) include medieval fairs, night-time bat walks, wildlife walks and lectures, classical music and poetry recitals, traditional music sessions, storytelling, historical re-enactments, and local history walks and talks and maritime and coastal events. In addition many heritage sites and stately homes will offer free admission or special concessions.
National Heritage Week is a unique opportunity for families and everyone to get involved in Ireland’s heritage, learn more about it, preserve it for future generations and above all, enjoy it.