This year National Heritage Week focuses on Ireland’s natural heritage and shows how we can all make small changes to preserve our natural environment for generations to come.
Coordinated by the Heritage Council, National Heritage Week is Ireland’s most popular cultural event and this year over 450,000 people are expected to participate in over 2,000 heritage events around the country.
“I am delighted to launch Heritage Week 2017. I am glad that the many events planned will offer local people, once again, the opportunity to explore, share and celebrate their heritage. People and communities are the custodians of our heritage in all its cultural richness. Heritage Week reminds and inspires us all to look around and enjoy the beautiful heritage in our own local communities and across the country.” - Heather Humphreys Minister for Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht.
This year National Heritage Week aims to highlight the work of many local organisations and voluntary groups who work tirelessly to preserve our wonderful natural heritage. Each year, thousands of people plan National Heritage Week events in their towns or villages.
In 2016 the Heritage Council undertook research on biodiversity awareness and understanding. The findings show that while 84% of people are willing to do their bit to contribute to improving biodiversity in Ireland, 60% of people do not know what actions to take.
National Heritage Week will show people how they can play their part in protecting our natural heritage all year long from making our gardens pollinator-friendly to volunteering for local clean ups and citizen science projects. It is an opportunity to learn how we can protect our endangered species and habitats and see how the work and commitment of local communities is conserving nature, for us and for future generations.
“National Heritage Week this year highlights programmes that showcase how we can successfully become involved in supporting nature conservation and make the connections between the quality of where we live and the quality of our surroundings.” – Michael Parsons, Chairman Designate of the Heritage Council
Find out more about the links between Ireland’s nature, history, culture and heritage at tours, walks, talks, exhibitions, outdoor activities and more. From wildlife boat tours to forest adventures for children there is something for everyone to enjoy this Heritage Week. Most of the events are free so that heritage can be accessed and appreciated by all.
Two very special days take place during the week. Wednesday 23 August is Wild Child Day and is dedicated to wild children everywhere with lots of great outdoors events planned. Sunday 27 August is Water Heritage Day in partnership with the Local Authority Water and Communities Office with many events based around rivers, lakes and seas.
National Heritage Week is part of 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 is to promote awareness of our built, natural and cultural heritage and to promote Europe’s common cultural heritage.