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Jump into Wild Child and Water Heritage Days

Heritage Week Galway 2

This year, National Heritage Week is all about sustainable heritage and biodiversity, preserving our traditions and natural heritage for the future. National Heritage Week is again highlighting these wonderful elements with two themed days: Wild Child Day and Water Heritage Day.

Wild Child Day
Wild Child Day will take place on Saturday, 20th August and is focused on engaging children with their natural heritage and biodiversity in a fun and enjoyable way. The Heritage Council is encouraging children to look at the world around them differently, to open their eyes to the diverse beauty of the landscape in their area and to get out and explore their locality or even farther afield. On Wild Child Day, why not visit somewhere you haven’t been before or go somewhere you know well and look at it differently? Whether you are fascinated by what makes up the natural world, a budding historian, a future artist, or an inspired archaeologist at home, there’s an event for all young heritage enthusiasts to enjoy.

If you are organising an in-person event or creating a digital heritage project for children, the possibilities are endless, from nature scavenger hunts to storytelling sessions to craft workshops. Explore our 100 Event Ideas list under the Sustainable Families section for event and project ideas. Maybe you live in an area popular with visitors. Can you organise a Wild Child Day event to showcase your area to visiting children?

To find Wild Child Day events and other projects suitable for children and young people, click here.

Water Heritage Day

Water Heritage Day will take place on Sunday, 21st August. This is a chance to celebrate heritage and history connected to our magnificent rivers, lakes, and coastline. This water-themed day is organised through collaboration between the Heritage Council and the Local Authority Waters Programme (LAWPRO). Each year, Heritage Officers, Community Water Officers, and local communities and groups organise events and projects that highlight the value of water for recreational, cultural, environmental, and economic benefits.

It is said that rivers are a mirror for society; they reflect our impressions on the land. At no time in living memory has our impact on the natural world been so abundantly clear as it is today. We need to achieve a more sustainable way of living, in balance with the natural world. Only then will our rivers, lakes and natural waters reflect a society with a full appreciation of nature and our living heritage.

Hope for achieving a sustainable future lies in local communities. By working together and supporting one another, we can learn to appreciate what is around us and to protect it for future generations to enjoy. This is a core message delivered by Community Water Officers each year in the run up to Water Heritage Day, which is the last day of Heritage Week.

Water meanders through National Heritage Week’s themes of sustainable heritage and biodiversity like a great river through the landscape, shaping the natural, built, and cultural heritage of communities along its path.

This year as we celebrate the return of in-person events Community Water Officers will work with Heritage Officers in each county to support community-led projects and events that explore nature and our natural waters. This year, LAWPRO are placing a particular focus on projects that highlight nature and biodiversity in towns and cities, in appreciation of cleaner, greener urban spaces.

There have been many memorable Water Heritage Day projects in the recent past. Stories from the Waterside, a collection of almost 500 reflections on local waterbodies was produced during the COVID-19 restrictions. In Search of Otter Poo on the Mulkear River led children on a voyage of discovery along the river and encouraged to become nature detectives learning about the wonderful, mysterious, and elusive world of Ireland's otters. Paddling through the Past was a guided kayak trip explored the cultural landscape of the Swilly Catchment, understanding how man has changed the landscape of the Inishowen and Fanad peninsulas.

This National Heritage Week, you can get involved and enhance your local water body and biodiversity participating in events or in citizen science projects that record and monitor nature and biodiversity in your locality. These projects include the All-Ireland Pollinator Plan and Explore your Shore.

If you or your community have an idea for an event for National Heritage Week 2022 to highlight your local river, lake, estuary, or coast, contact your local Community Water Officer here.