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National Heritage Week 2023: An Invitation to Take Part

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Introducing National Heritage Week 2023. Find out how easy it is to take part and organise an event.

Recognising Ireland's Living Heritage

Representatives from Na Píobairí Uilleann joined the Heritage Council and Minister of State for Heritage and Electoral Reform Malcolm Noonan at the launch at their HQ on Henrietta Steet in Dublin to showcase the contribution they make to maintaining and promoting Ireland’s cultural heritage through providing piping and pipemaking tuition, organising performances and acting as a focal point for traditional music lovers in Ireland and worldwide.

The Uileann pipes and piping was the first submission from Ireland to the UNESCO World Intangible Cultural Heritage List.

Living Heritage is defined as the "practices, knowledge and skills that have been passed from one generation to the next, and are still in use today”. As such the Uileann pipes and piping represent Living Heritage that is being nurtured today.

Other events and projects that encompass Living heritage would include the exploration of the traditions of hurling, camogie or Gaelic/Ladies football; a deep dive into the beauty of traditional Irish music, dancing or singing; the preservation of our crafts and skills such as Traveller tinsmithing, lace making and basket weaving; the showcasing of our built heritage traditions such as thatching, lime plastering and dry stone walling.

Heritage Council launches National Heritage Week

The Heritage Council is calling on heritage newcomers, enthusiasts and experts of all ages across Ireland to focus on living heritage when registering in-person events and digital projects for inclusion as part of National Heritage Week 2023.

National Heritage Week will run from Saturday, 12th August — Sunday, 20th August, and has become one of Ireland’s largest cultural events.

Events and digital projects can now be uploaded via the Organisers’ Portal on www.heritageweek.ie.

For an opportunity to be promoted in local media in the run up to National Heritage Week, you should submit your event before 15th June, though events may be submitted up to the beginning of National Heritage Week on 12th August. Digital heritage projects should be submitted by 22nd August.

In-person events may consist of walking tours, lectures, film screenings, exhibitions, craft workshops or other interactive activities. Digital project formats may vary from online talks or exhibitions, to videos, podcasts, presentations or blogs, a dedicated website or social media account.

Speaking at the launch, Minister of State for Heritage and Electoral Reform, Malcolm Noonan said: “This year’s theme of living heritage provides a great opportunity for us to explore not only our own skills, traditions and culture, but also the intangible heritage of our migrant communities and those recently arrived in the country. Heritage is as much about telling stories, swapping skills and passing traditions from one generation to the next, as it is about our built and natural heritage, and there is magnificent potential to inspire each other this year.”

Chair of the Heritage Council, Martina Moloney explained: “As well as living heritage, we also want to encourage event and project organisers to view built and natural heritage through the lens of cultural heritage this year. There are back stories to every holy well and ruin across the country, traditions associated with our pilgrim paths and their beautiful natural heritage, and skills associated with our water heritage, from currach making to seine boat building to snap net fishing. As custodians of this heritage, it is incumbent on all of us to examine how we can preserve, sustain and share these unique skills, traditions, art forms and ways of life, while engaging contemporary audiences.”

CEO of the Heritage Council, Virginia Teehan said: “In our recently published Strategic Plan, Our Place in Time, the Heritage Council commits to increasing funding for National Heritage Week as a key means to promote community-led engagement. In the coming years, we will see the impact of that increased support in communities on the ground and reflected in the ingenuity of the events and projects for National Heritage Week in the years ahead.”

Fáilte Ireland is joined by the Office of Public Works (OPW), the Irish Landmark Trust, and the Local Authority Water Programme are all partners of National Heritage Week 2023. 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. Re-iterating its support for Heritage Week, Mary Stack, Head of Attractions at Fáilte Ireland said: “Ireland’s rich culture and heritage is central to our tourism offering so Fáilte Ireland is pleased to once again support National Heritage Week. By bringing both our living heritage and heritage sites to life through demonstrations, music, re-enactments, tours and talks, National Heritage week 2023 will create truly memorable experiences for domestic tourists and locals alike across the country.”