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Some Inspiration and ideas for National Heritage Week 2024

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As you are aware National Heritage Week 2024 takes place from 17th - 25th August 2024. This year's theme is "Connections, Routes and Networks". We invite you to explore how we are connected to each both through physical routes and cultural connections. If you are looking for some ideas, here are some projects that have seen support from The Heritage Council that might inspire you.

The Pilgrim Paths of Ireland

Pilgrim paths have long established in Ireland since the beginnings of the medieval church here. With the rise in interest in pilgrim paths internationally, there has been a renewed focus to our own pilgrim paths in Ireland. In 1997, the Pilgrim Paths Project was initiated by the Heritage Council which focused on seven medieval routes of pilgrimage. In 2013, Pilgrim Paths Ireland (PPI) was founded at a meeting in Nenagh "as an umbrella body for the volunteer groups promoting Ireland's penitential trails".

Today there are nine pilgrim paths that are part of the pilgrim paths passport for Ireland. However there are many pilgrim paths throughout the country. Some may be still in use and some have been abandoned. This National Heritage Week is a great opportunity to investigate pilgrim paths in your local area to and explore their history and heritage.

Beara Breifne Way

Supported by the Heritage Council since 2001, the Beara Breifne Way is Ireland’s longest national waymarked trail, following the fourteen-day march taken by Dónal Cam and his one thousand supporters in 1603. Involving over 60 community groups and twelve local walking trails from Cork, Kerry, Limerick, Tipperary, Offaly, Galway, Roscommon, Sligo, Leitrim and Cavan, the project is the largest community-based project undertaken in Ireland. The Way runs almost the length of the country and takes the walker and cyclist to some of its most beautiful and least explored areas; along the coast of the Beara Peninsula, across six mountain ranges, along the banks of the River Shannon and through the lake regions of Roscommon and Leitrim.

There are over national waymarked trails in Ireland that cover everything from rugged mountain to canal paths. Many of these waymarked trails have historic roots (no pun intended) and there is much heritage to explore along them. If your community lies on any of these trails, it is a great opportunity to explore the heritage of these trails and organise events on it throughout National Heritage Week.

Heritage Maps For Railways

Ireland's railway network infrastructure is much smaller today than it was over hundred years ago. Last year the Heritage Council worked with Irish Rail on the historic rail network. You can view the map of Ireland's rail network at its most extensive here. If you or your community are close to a former railway or older railway station, now is the time to start exploring its history and see what you can learn about it. You can create a digital project for National Heritage Week documenting what you have learnt.