MINISTER OF State at the Department of Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht Joe McHugh has described those behind 120 events across Donegal to mark Heritage Week as ‘Community Champions’.
The Government Chief Whip officially launched events today at the County Museum in Letterkenny, with the week running from August 19.
National Heritage Week locally is an integral part of European Heritage Days, celebrated in 50 countries across Europe. The principal aims of Heritage Week are to raise awareness of our heritage and encourage its preservation, conservation and promotion.
There are over 2,000 events taking place nationally and there are well over 120 ‘Heritage Week’ events taking place in County Donegal — the most events in any county in the country per head of population.
“The continued success of ‘Heritage Week’ in County Donegal is due to those of you who organise events for ‘Heritage Week’ and those of you who support them,” McHugh told organisers today.
“You are the real Community Champions who realise how important our heritage is, how important it is to preserve it and how important it is to promote it to others.”
There are events taking place all across the county including heritage open days, guided walks, fieldtrips, exhibitions, conferences, illustrated talks, historical re-enactments, birds of prey displays, whale watching, garden tours, traditional skills demonstrations and training, launch events, storytelling, traditional music and children’s activities.
At national level, heritage is now part of the Department of Culture, Heritage & the Gaeltacht. In the Programme for a Partnership Government, there are commitments by government to prepare a new National Heritage Plan, to publish the first National Cultural Policy and to strengthen the role of Local Heritage Officers.
Said Minister McHugh: “The ‘Creative Ireland’ programme envisages a key role for local authorities such as Donegal County Council in addressing the government commitment of ‘Enabling Creativity in Every Community’ which envisages each local authority being empowered and resourced to lead community engagement in our culture, heritage and arts.
“With its Cultural Services Division in place for about 20 years, Donegal County Council is well placed to deliver the ‘Creative Ireland’ programme in the county. “
McHugh said that the Department of Culture, Heritage & the Gaeltacht recognises the need to invest in our heritage. Funding to support the heritage sector in the county is starting to recover.
This year, the Department of Culture, Heritage & the Gaeltacht will invest €72,000 under its Built Heritage Investment Scheme for nine Protected Structures and €29,000 under its Structures at Risk Fund for conservation works to another two Protected Structures in County Donegal.
In May Minister McHugh was able to announce €121,000 to 10 other projects here in Donegal:
- Holy Trinity Church of Ireland Horn Head – €10,000
- Portnason House, Ballyshannon – €7,000
- Stranorlar Church of Ireland – €7,500
- The Old Fort Inn Martello Tower – €4,500
- Leitir Corn Mill, Leitir – €8,000
- Mountain Lodge, Pettigo – €8,000
- Town House, Church Lane, Letterkenny – €8,000
- Church of Christ the Redeemer, Rosnakill – €9,320
- Rathmullan Abbey €29,000
- St Columb’s Church Moville €30,000
The Heritage Council is also investing €80,000 in 18 community-based heritage projects in County Donegal under its Community Heritage Grants Scheme and a further €27,000 in the implementation of the County Donegal Heritage Plan.
McHugh told representatives of local groups: ”Credit must go to all of you who have organised events for this year’s Heritage Week.
“You will serve as ambassadors for ‘Heritage Week’ by encouraging other people to support the great programme of events to which you have contributed. In these challenging times for our heritage, it’s encouraging and inspiring to see your efforts to preserve and promote our local heritage, history and culture. “
- National Heritage Week is coordinated by The Heritage Council and Local Authority Heritage Officers with support from the Department of Culture, Heritage & the Gaeltacht.Donegal County Council is playing its part too with over 20 ‘Heritage Week’ events being organised or hosted by Cultural Services.
- The County Donegal ‘Heritage Week’ Event Guide was compiled by the County Donegal Heritage Office of Donegal County Council.The county event guide proves to be very popular with demand for it exceeding supply in recent years. The booklet contains a brief outline of the events taking place in County Donegal along with contact details for event organisers.