Heritage Week 2011 set to be the biggest yet with over 1300 events

National Heritage Week 2011 looks set to be the biggest yet with over 1300 events due to take place nationwide from Saturday 20th – Sunday 28th August and we are still counting! This year will see the old Irish tradition of storytelling being celebrated as the first day of National Heritage Week (Saturday 20th August) designated National Tell Tale Day. Whilst Heritage Week in itself tells the rich and diverse story of our Heritage over 100 specific storytelling themed events for children and adults will take place across the country during the week.

Speaking about the week, Minister for Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht, Jimmy Deenihan T.D. said, “the range of events taking place during National Heritage Week demonstrates the diversity of our heritage that is very much part of us both individually and as a nation.  We must never take our heritage for granted; our heritage can play a central role in shaping and contributing to the future of Ireland. Now, more than ever before the employment it provides and the opportunities it presents for sustainable economic development are being recognised by all sectors of society.  This year there is a nine-day programme of nationwide activities scheduled for National Heritage Week. I am very much looking forward to participating in many of the events taking place across the country during Heritage week.  It is fantastic to see Ireland embracing the opportunity to promote and celebrate our uniquely Irish heritage”.

National Heritage Week is coordinated by the Heritage Council, the agency tasked with identifying, protecting, preserving and enhancing Ireland’s national heritage.  Speaking at the launch Michael Starrett, CEO of the Heritage Council said, “the diversity of events taking place during National Heritage Week is what makes it unique. When the Heritage Council first took over the running of National Heritage Week in 2005 there were just 500 events taking place during the week. Today the week is over double the size and this is a direct result of the increasing levels of community involvement we are seeing nationwide, in particular among volunteer groups. Last year, over 370,000 people attended events throughout the week, with over 1300 events already registered for 2011 we expect this year to be the biggest National Heritage Week to date”.

The majority of events throughout the week are FREE to attend and there is something for everyone…You can catch a glance of the bats of Killaloe, trace your ancestors in County Cork, hear the untold stories of Huntington Castle in Carlow, explore lightkeepers’ houses along the coast, see a medieval weapons display in County Donegal, hear author Tom McCaughren read from his award winning fox books in the National Library, listen to a traditional music session with Mick O’Brien & family in the Botanical Gardens Glasnevin, tour the tower and ringing room of St. Patrick’s Cathedral, hear the tales of the famous White Mice of the Casino Mario, view a classical dingy boat race in Dun Laoghaire, make your very own wrenboy costume and hat in Fermanagh, bring your teddy for a picnic at Connemara National Park, dig up some bones at an archaeological dig for children in Tralee, attend demonstrations of making stained glass and stone cutting in Kilkenny, take an evening chorus walk on Abbeyleix Bog, listen to stories of the sea in Waterford, attend a poetry reading by Paul Muldoon in Carrick-on-Shannon, bring your precious treasures to a conservation workshop and tell the story of your keepsakes in Ballina, explore the mystery of Tara in Meath, follow Obama’s tour of Offaly, take a guided tour of Coopershill House in Sligo, hear the tale of the wicked Earl in Mullingar and take part in a traditional boat building workshop in Wexford.

Ireland’s heritage is a key attraction for overseas visitors each year. Recognising the opportunity to engage with tourists while they are here on holidays, the Heritage Council has developed a County Ambassador Volunteer Programme to run during National Heritage Week. Recruited volunteers will become County Ambassadors, located in the local Tourism Information Office for the week. Their role will be to provide tourists with information on what is happening in the local area as part of National Heritage Week. Training and support will be provided to by the Council and Fáilte Ireland to all volunteers. To find out more or get involved log on to http://www.heritageweek.ie

50,000 copies of the National Heritage Week Event Guide, launched today are now available free throughout the country in Fáilte Ireland Tourist Offices, Libraries, OPW Sites, Bus Eireann Stations, County Council Offices etc. Complete event listings are also available on the National Heritage Week website, http://www.heritageweek.ie

For updates on events throughout the week, log on to http://www.heritageweek.ie

or follow us on Twitter@heritageweek or the Heritage Week Facebook page.


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