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National Heritage Week Awards 2023

National Heritage Week Awards 2023 38

The National Heritage Week Awards recognise the enormous contribution of individuals and community groups across Ireland in ensuring the preservation, protection, and promotion of Ireland’s built, natural and cultural heritage.

The awards honour the most engaging and inspiring events for National Heritage Week 2023. Almost 2,000 events and projects took place around the country in August during National Heritage Week, as communities and individuals answered the Heritage Council’s invitation to explore this year’s theme of living heritage.

Living Heritage Award

Awarded to the event or project that successfully encouraged a greater appreciation of an element of our Living Heritage- traditional crafts, skills and practices.

Winner: Maharees Conservation Association CLG

The Living Heritage of Maharees

The Living Heritage Of Maharees

Maharees Conservation Association invited all to explore the rich living heritage of Maharees on a guided trail of discovery and demonstration, learning about practices and skills passed down through generations.

From stone wall to currach building; sea weed harvesting to vegetable growing, many of these skills are still very much part of life in Maharees today.

Participants learned such nuggets as how to make a mutton pie for the Pattern and to ‘trim an oingin’, as they walked from Fahamore to Ceann Duimhche, stopping for demonstrations en route.


Event: St Brochans Well, Bracknagh, County: Offaly

Event: Treasures in Our Bogs County: Donegal

Inclusive Event Award

Awarded to an event or project that made a special effort to share heritage with everyone in the community across age groups, including those who are; new to heritage; those who do not have local roots; those who have additional accessibility needs.

Winner: The Hunt Museum
"Seeing Without Sight" Exhibition
County: Limerick

Seeing without sight exhibition

This multisensory exhibition enabled visitors to Limerick’s Hunt Museum to experience a selection of objects from its collection through tactile displays and audio descriptions. Live audio-described tours of the museum were led by museum docents and a number of visually impaired co-curators.It was delivered through an inclusive co-creation process in which the group of blind and visually impaired co-curators harnessed their life experience of disability to produce accessibility design solutions that enriched the visitor experience and increased access and inclusion.


Event: Dúchas Beo County: Longford

Event: Sanctuary in Nature & Heritage Excursion at Phoenix Park County: Dublin/Meath

Wild Child Award- sponsored by the Department of Children, Equality, Disability, Integration and Youth

Awarded to an event or project that successfully encouraged children and families to enjoy and explore the heritage and biodiversity in their locality; to look at the world around them differently; to open their eyes to the diverse beauty of the landscape in their area.

Winner: Irish Whale and Dolphin Group
Event: Be a Marine Biologist for a Day
County: Clare

Irish Whale and Dolphine group winners

The Irish Whale and Dolphin Group education team invited future marine biologists to explore the world of Ireland’s ocean giants at its headquarters in Kilrush, Co. Clare. In keeping with this year’s living heritage theme of passing knowledge and skills down through the generations, the event was aimed at children and included an introduction to whale and dolphin evolution and anatomy with real whale and dolphin bones, interactive games and a scavenger hunt. Participants also learned how to identify marine mammals and found out more about the ecosystem and conservation.


River Brosna Heritage Festival County: Offaly

Biodiversity Art and Craft workshop with artist Maria Hitchcox County: Galway

Water Heritage Award- sponsored by the Local Authority Waters Programme

Awarded to an event or project that best explored how a canal, river, lake or sea shaped the heritage of a locality or celebrates water as an integral part of our natural heritage, as well as being a vital part of our future, or reflects on what more we can do to conserve this valuable resource. The Water Heritage Award is in association with the Local authorities Water Programme.

Winner: Inishowen Rivers Trust/ Loughs Agency
Event: Culdaff River Heritage Workshop
County: Donegal

InishOwen Rivers Trust

Donegal’s Inishowen Rivers Trust and Derry based Loughs Agency organised a workshop with local historians to explore the relationships people have with their local river - and each other. Taking place at the Wee Hall in Culduff it provided participants with an opportunity to find out more about the history and significance of the river. Local historians spoke about various aspects of human interactions with the river down through the ages, from the early Christian sites to fishing today.

Runners-Up Event: Life beneath the Waves County: Kerry

Event: Explore Louisburgh's River Life County: Mayo

Irish Language Event Award

Awarded to an event or project that took place through the Irish Language and/or encouraged participation or activity in the Irish language.

Winner: Togra Fiontar & Cultúr Uladh CTR
Event: Feile Saibhreas na Síoraíochta
County: Donegal

Togra Fiontar

Togra Fiontar and Cultúr Uladh in Donegal organised a guided tour packed with stories, folklore and jokes. It included an exploration of heritage houses starting at Teach Mhicí Mac Gabhann in the Parish of Cloughaneely, followed by a bus journey to Teach Mhúiris in the Parish of Gaoth Dobhair and from there on to the Teach Niall Ó Domhnaill in the Rosses. Along the way the group looked at heritage down through the years, including a display of old tools and working methods, while in Loughanure participants found out about the lime industry and the key part it played in the history of Loughanure.

Runners-Up Event: Cnuasach Leabhar Sheáin C. Mhic Aoidh County: Donegal

Sustainable and Climate Award

Awarded to an event or project that made a special effort to incorporate environmentally friendly practices to reduce our carbon footprint and impact on the natural world OR an event that provided education on the impact of climate change and good sustainability practice.

Winner: Society for the Protection of Ancient Buildings (SPAB)
Event: SPAB Ireland Working Party 2023 in Cavan
County: Cavan

SPAB Winners of Sustainability & Climate Award

Their event, entitled SPAB Ireland Working Party, took place at Rothaí Mill in Cavan – home to a group of structures consisting of a mill, millers’ cottage, and kilns.The mill is over 200 years old. It has two water wheels - one for shelling and one for grinding, each powered by a different water source, a completely unique feature in all of Ireland. It was thatched until 1959 and stopped operating over 50 years ago, in 1969. The working party provided a unique opportunity for building professionals, craftspeople, general builders, students, homeowners, and experienced enthusiasts alike to learn more about traditional conservation building skills through hands-on experience.

Runners-Up Event: Altidore Castle Woodland and Biodiversity Walk County: Wicklow

Event: Upcycled Streetscape County: Tipperary