Heritage at our doorstep

ISN’T it ironic that in a world that’s becoming truly ’’global’’ because of the communications revolution, at the same time interest in what’s local seems to be intensifying.

Heritage at our doorstep

Those of us who went to school many years ago spent much of our time learning about faraway towns and cities in Ireland and further afield, often standing around a large map hanging on the classroom wall while the natural wonders and heritage attractions in our localities were ignored.

All this week, people are going to be out and about in city, town and country enjoying activities under the aegis of National Heritage Week, which is growing in popularity year on year.

The National Heritage Council has come up with a clever idea by making something of the fact that 2014 is the United Nations 20th anniversary of the International Year of the Family. So, families are being encouraged to explore our heritage together and what better than having the older generations pass on to their knowledge and insights to the youth!

And we don’t have to go that far away from home. Indeed, would not it be the sensible thing to learn about the heritage on our own doorsteps before venturing farther afield? Every village, street and parish in Ireland has a story to tell and, crucially, people who are more than willing to tell it.

Says Heritage Council chief executive Michael Starrett: ’’We have seen a real shift in people’s interest in the heritage of their places over the past decade and a much greater recognition of the value heritage adds to every community across Ireland.’’

With a welcome focus on the local, around 1,600 events, most of which are free, have been organised countrywide, with an estimated 400,000 people expected to attend.

To give a sample of what’s on offer, in Cork, for instance, an historic tour of Inniscarra, on August 30, will draw from all the richness of that lovely area by the banks of Lee. Further upriver, a nature walk in Carrigadrohid, on August 29, will also be focused on the Lee and will end with an old-style barndance at Con Dunne’s farm that night.

In West Cork, the quaintly-named Ewe Experience is a combination of nature and art in an interactive sculpture garden, in Glengarriff, run by Sheena Wood and her writer husband, Kurt.

In Lismore, Co Waterford, four bat walks have been organised at Glenribbeen Eco Lodge, while wildlife will also be the subject at an event in Bruff, Co Limerick, on August 29, called Bruff’s Buzzing.


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