National Heritage Week celebrates all things heritage. It brings together communities, families, organisations, cultural institutions, academics and enthusiasts, to build awareness about the value of heritage and support its conservation.
The Heritage Council assumed the role of coordinator of National Heritage Week from the Department of the Environment, Heritage & Local Government in 2005. Since then the week has grown into a highly successful programme, and last year more than 2,000 events took place across Ireland during the third week of August.
National Heritage Week is supported by the Department of Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht, and run in association with Fáilte Ireland. At county level, National Heritage Week is co-ordinated and supported by Local Authority Heritage Officers, their colleagues and with numerous local heritage groups and organisations. Collaborative partners include the Office of Public Works; the Local Authority Water Programme; the Irish Landmark Trust; and the Design and Crafts Council of Ireland. Supporting partners include RTÉ Supporting the Arts and The Irish Times.
National Heritage Week 2020
Due to COVID-19-related restrictions on social gatherings, this year, rather than inviting communities to host Heritage Week events, the Heritage Council is inviting communities around the country to undertake projects that explore a topic associated with this year’s theme – ‘Heritage and Education: Learning from our Heritage’.
The new approach is designed to promote the sharing of experience and knowledge. Projects can comprise researching an aspect of heritage on your doorstep, sharing or re-learning a heritage skill, or exploring an aspect of Ireland’s educational heritage.
The results of projects should be presented in a format that can be shared widely, for example an online talk or exhibition; a video; podcast or oral history recordings; a PowerPoint presentation, newsletter, dedicated website or blog; or via an interview with a local radio station or newspaper. A newly opened – and moderated – social media account could also be included as part of project outputs.
Depending on public health advice, project organisers may select to organise a small event in their community to showcase their project (e.g. an exhibition of photographs or material). However, each project should be able to stand alone without an event, given the risks associated with gatherings and COVID-19.
In addition to developing new research, projects could also revisit or build on a heritage project which may already have been started at an individual, family or community level. This could include showcasing research already done on a monument, a waterway, or a skill or tradition in the community, and finding new ways to grow awareness of it.
All projects that meet the objectives of National Heritage Week in a meaningful way, will be promoted on the National Heritage Week website and considered for the National Heritage Week Awards 2020.