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National Heritage Week 2024 Theme

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National Heritage Week 2024 will take place from 17th-25th August 2024. This year we will celebrate the theme of "Connections, Routes & Networks".

What is the theme about?

The theme of Connections, Routes and Networks invites you to explore the links between people and communities, to look at what brings us together and what connects us.

We are all connected in a variety of ways to each other, to our families and to our communities.

Physical routes dot the landscape, roads, paths, boreens, rivers and canals, and remind us that societies have always strived to connect. They remind us that people have travelled to farm and to conquest, to trade and to discover, and to seek out new adventures. Ancient winding pilgrim paths, former rail tracks that once linked our towns, waterways facilitating trade, our modern road systems - these are all examples of the connections bringing communities together for centuries.

Our cultural connections extend beyond any physical connections. The exploration of our intangible heritage through this theme allows us to better understand our connections through sport, pass times, hobbies, family connections, religion and traditions.

Our natural heritage also offers connections. Migratory birds create networks and connections between Ireland and parts of Africa and Scandinavia. Our native species create networks all over the country through hedgerows and river valleys.

Our heritage invites us to ask questions about the origins of routes, structures, rituals and practices, and in exploring these histories, we can discover the very things that once connected us and that continue to shape our ways of life today.

Exploring Our Networks

Our networks often stem from intertwined histories, with built heritage but also artworks, traditions, and crafts and our interaction with nature serving as reminders of shared pasts. Physical and thematic routes offer opportunities to bring heritage and communities together.

As individuals, communities, and societies, we exist within interconnected networks that often transcend our own community. We encounter the cultural heritage of different communities, providing us with chances to acknowledge how their heritage reflects our own pasts and contributes to a broader collective heritage. The remnants of past societies have left an indelible mark on our landscapes that are evident in our topography, language and in the contents of our museums and galleries. Our language and vocabulary serve as living artifacts of historical connections, showcasing the remarkable commonality within our heritage while also highlighting how culture takes on unique forms based on its geographical roots.

Building upon the themes of Sustainable & Biodiversity Heritage in 2022 and Living Heritage in 2023, it becomes apparent that connections exist in many different ways and are continually evolving. Through living, working, and recreational spaces new routes and connections are created and as people travel, their heritage travels with them, sustained by its intrinsic value. Thus exploring different traditions reflects on the variety of connections to our own heritage.

Digital Connections

While the physical routes and networks that exist continue to shape our lives, today we also rely on digital connections. These ever-evolving forms of communication form their own maps and routes, connecting us with others in ways that could not be imagined previously. New technologies have made heritage more accessible than ever through digitisation projects and online resources like heritagemaps.ie and ICAN. Its now easier to explore your local area and family history through technology.

Today, through social media we are networked like never before, through our shared interests, activities and aspirations. However, despite the speed of our new digital connectivity, it is useful to remember that many of these connections have deep historical routes.

Make A Connection

We are inviting you as participants of National Heritage Week to make a connection.This year's theme encourages you to explore the connection between people and heritage, to discover Ireland’s wealth of natural habitats, our traditions roads routes and connections. There is great value in the heritage of our environment, community and island. By making a connection to your local heritage you are making a contribution to our social, environmental & economic well-being to ensure the long term preservation of our built, natural and cultural heritage.