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New county award announced for National Heritage Week Awards

The Heritage Council has announced that it will run an awards scheme for each county participating in National Heritage Week this year.

National Heritage Week will run from Saturday, 15th – Sunday, 23rd August. To take account of restrictions on gatherings due to COVID-19, rather than focusing on the organisation of events this year, local heritage groups, families and communities are invited to develop projects around this year’s theme of ‘Heritage and Education: Learning from our Heritage’. All projects submitted will be considered for a National Heritage Week Award.

National Heritage Week Awards have been expanded this year to include an award for the best project in each county. Projects will be assessed on the basis of their local reach and community engagement, educational value and the level to which they involve different age groups.

Speaking at the announcement of the National Heritage Week Awards, the Minister of State for Heritage and Electoral Reform, Malcolm Noonan TD, said: “I am delighted that the Heritage Council has taken the initiative to expand the National Heritage Week Awards to include county awards. There is a strong network of local Heritage Officers around the country, who work hard to support communities in protecting and promoting local heritage. The awards should help stimulate interest and healthy competition within communities.”

Also speaking at the announcement, the Chairman of the Heritage Council, Michael Parsons, said: “This year, more than ever, National Heritage Week is accessible to everyone: we are calling on individuals, families and communities to explore an aspect of their local heritage; document it; and showcase it in a format that can be shared widely. Lots of older members of families and communities have the knowledge and skills that can contribute to a heritage project, while younger people have the technological skills and the imagination to showcase local heritage projects in digital formats.”

National Heritage Week projects should be completed in time for National Heritage Week in August, when they will be showcased. Formats for showcasing may vary from online talks or exhibitions, to a video, podcast, slideshow presentation or blog, to media coverage, a dedicated website or moderated social media account, or by means of small, restricted social gatherings, which comply with official public health advice.

In addition to county awards, the following award categories will apply to this year’s awards:

  • Heritage Hero: awarded to an individual or organisation that has demonstrated an outstanding contribution to the protection and promotion of heritage in Ireland. This award will be based on nominations received by members of the public.
  • Heritage on your doorstep: awarded to the heritage project that best explores an aspect of heritage – natural, built or cultural – in a locality, and which is shared with the wider community.
  • Relearning skills from our heritage: awarded to the project that best explores heritage skills, crafts or traditions in a locality, and which is shared with the wider community.The heritage of education: awarded to the project that best explores the history of education in a place of learning in a locality, and which is shared with the wider community.
  • Water heritage: awarded to the project that best explores how a canal, river, lake or the sea shapes an important part of the heritage in a locality, and which is shared with the wider community.

A judging panel, convened by the Heritage Council, will consider submitted heritage projects for awards under the categories listed above. Awards will be announced in October 2020.