25 July 2023
Today I was thrilled to launch National Heritage Week 2023, which takes place nationwide from Saturday 12th to Sunday 20th August. A colourful range of events and projects celebrating all aspects of our heritage will take place across the country as communities, families, holiday makers and people of all ages and backgrounds are encouraged to get out and explore their heritage.
Coordinated by the Heritage Council since 2005, National Heritage Week has become one of Ireland’s largest cultural events, celebrating Ireland's built, natural and cultural heritage and aiming to generate awareness, appreciation and preservation of our wonderful resources.
The theme for National Heritage Week this year is ‘Living Heritage’ which 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, many events and projects will focus on keeping these crafts and skills alive. This year’s launch took place at the workshop of Tom McDonnell and James Collins, who are two of the last remaining practitioners of Traveller tinsmithing. You can hear from the Tom and James in the video below.
Over 1,000 FREE events and projects have already been registered with that figure expected to reach close to 2,000 before the festivities kick off. Galleries, gardens, historic houses, barnyards and studios will play host to events covering everything from architecture to archaeology, film to foraging, philosophy to genealogy and music to storytelling. Walks, talks and workshops will satisfy the heritage curious among us who can search for events taking place in their area either by county or by topic from here. Some event highlights this year include; ‘Genealogy One To One’ in Kilkenny where people can book a private session with a genealogy expert to help unravel their family history; a screening in Donegal of the mesmerising film ‘It’s a Fine Thing to Sing’ featuring Ian Lynch (Lankum), Ye Vagabonds and The Henry Girls arranging and singing six songs from Clonmany and Buncrana singers; Discover Blacksmithing in Limerick where attendees can immerse themselves in a free four-day course and learn the skills of blacksmithing; learn how to create a willow basket in Co.Cork in a fun family friendly workshop; and ‘The Fair of Muff’ event in Cavan which will reenact an ancient Celtic festival where visitors can try their hand at fair games like the old “Penny Toss” and “Skittles”.
Anybody interested in hosting an event or a digital project can register it up to the beginning of National Heritage Week on August 12th, and even during the week itself right up until the final day on Sunday August 20th. They can do so via the Organisers’ Portal on www.heritageweek.ie.
With thousands of free events all over the country, Heritage Week is a wonderful opportunity to connect with the places, traditions, crafts and skills that have woven their way through the fabric of Irish society. I’d like to commend the hundreds of people, community groups and organisations across Ireland who, every year, give freely of their own time to host events and share their interest in heritage with the public and with the next generation of heritage lovers and tradition keepers. It is thanks to their efforts that the understanding and love of our heritage is kept alive, and passed on to the next generation.