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Open the door to National Heritage Week from this Saturday

A seashore safari for young and old; medieval monuments explained through Mandarin; Traveller histories and family trees; botanical art workshops; currach paddle carving; and riverside poetry, walks and talks are among hundreds of projects submitted for National Heritage Week, which kicks off this Saturday (14.08.21) and runs until Sunday, 22nd August.

Local heritage groups and organisers, families, communities and individuals have responded to this year’s call to ‘Open the door to heritage’, creating online projects that are free to explore throughout National Heritage Week. Some in-person events will also take place, in line with public health guidelines. More than 573 projects can be viewed on the National Heritage Week website, with more being added every day.

Spanning natural, cultural and built heritage, projects aim to encourage ‘heritage newcomers’, as well as enthusiasts and experts, to engage with all aspects of Ireland’s heritage. Special emphasis has been placed on engaging individuals and groups who may not traditionally feel included in local heritage, or organising projects that speak to lesser-known aspects of local heritage.

Coordinated by the Heritage Council, highlights from this year’s National Heritage Week programme include:

  • Pavee Roads Home: explores Traveller culture and heritage through the lens of history and geography. This charts the journey of three Traveller families from the West of Ireland to Dublin City, showing how Travellers contributed to life in Ireland and abroad. More…
  • Currachs Past, Currachs Future: reveals the tradition, history and folklore surrounding currachs on the bank of the Boyne, and offers visitors a chance to help to carve a currach paddle. More…
  • Come Dine with 18th Century Me: steps back in time and takes a light-hearted look at 1780s Cork comparing 18th century and contemporary urban life through the medium of a dinner party. More…
  • Seashore Safari with Sea Synergy: takes a tour of the Inny Strand Beach, Waterville. It starts with mindfulness and is followed by a tour of rocks pools, ocean literacy and beach games, concluding with a beach clean. More…
  • Carlingford's medieval monuments through Mandarin: the built heritage of the medieval town of Carlingford is made accessible to Mandarin speakers in this project, which covers the Vikings, Normans and Williamite Wars and more besides. More…
  • Botanical Art Workshop: Hedgerow Wild & Beautiful: paints the colours and shapes of late-summer hedgerows in this one-day online botanical watercolour course, suitable for beginners and improvers. More…
  • Phoenix Cricket Club: Heritage and History: offers a chance to learn more about Ireland’s oldest sporting club Phoenix Cricket Club, including the colour and characters it has accumulated over the centuries, from its founding in 1830 by Charles Stewart Parnell's father, through the bombing by the Nazis, the first female president in the Park up to its present culturally diverse club. More…

Commenting, Chief Executive of the Heritage Council, Virginia Teehan said: “Ireland’s heritage is as rich and diverse as contemporary Ireland itself. It is something that is shared by all of us and continually evolving. In this spirit, National Heritage Week is an opportunity to come together and rally around Ireland’s unique heritage. It is also a chance to show our appreciation for those who champion it at community, local and national level, ensuring its preservation, protection and celebration.

“This year’s National Heritage Week offers something for every taste and interest, whether that is natural landscapes, wildlife and habitats, buildings and monuments, or customs and practices like art, sport and music. I encourage people across Ireland to visit the National Heritage Week website and explore projects that might interest them, or find a local event to participate in. National Heritage Week is a special opportunity to reach out and connect with each other through Ireland’s wonderful, precious heritage.”

Two themed days will take place during National Heritage Week. On Wednesday 18thAugust, Wild Child Day encourages children and families to explore the heritage in their locality. On Sunday, 22nd August, the Heritage Council and the Local Authority Waters Programme invite people to explore National Heritage Week projects that celebrate water and our connections with it.

People interested in attending in-person events are advised to consult the individual event page on the National Heritage Week website, or contact event organisers for full details of registration and attendance, which is subject to the prevailing public health and events guidelines.

Coordinated by the Heritage Council since 2005, National Heritage Week has become one of Ireland’s largest cultural events.