Sunday 25 September 2016

Punters spoilt for choice with Heritage Week

Ann Fitzgerald

Published 24/08/2016 | 02:30

A sword fight at last year's festival
Photo: Heritage week
A sword fight at last year's festival Photo: Heritage week

Most families have a photographer, the person who records events.

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In my family, I am that person. Since a young age, whenever something is happening, be it a baptism, birthday or just a general get-together, I have been the one with the camera.

But taking the pictures is only one part of the job. What's done with them afterwards is at least as important.

This used to mean getting film developed. Nowadays most photos are captured digitally (and then forgotten about!).

This is partly because most people don't have a good system for organising these photos.

When I was taking photos for A Year On Our Farm a few years ago, I did a course with professional photographer Alf Harvey. One of the most useful things I learned was how to label and manage my digital photos.

The Talbots had been living and farming in Coole for 130 years and the events that took place in that time include an outbreak of foot-and-mouth disease in 1941.

People come and go, but some evidence of what has happened has survived. I have stumbled across various documents and newspaper cuttings, among other records.

Every now and then I vow that I will finally put all this stuff in some kind of order. Except I don't know what to do with it. But now I have a chance to rectify that.

This is Heritage Week, and tomorrow the University of Limerick is running a workshop entitled 'Attics to Archives'. Participants will be taught basic archival techniques for preserving familial documentary history, including photos, diaries and letters, and learn about options for developing an online archive.

Admission is free but booking is necessary: Call 061 202690.

Heritage Week is the one celebration when we are genuinely spoiled for choice. Not just because so many events are happening, but because admission is often free or at reduced rates.

Among the other 1,500-plus events taking place is a talk by Dr Maebh O'Regan on the 18th century experimental agriculturalist John Wynn Baker. That's on tomorrow at 8pm in Elm Hall Golf Clubhouse, Celbridge, Co Kildare.

'From Hungers Mother to Bloody Foreland - recording the fieldnames of Co Donegal' is the intriguing title of a workshop at Donegal County Museum tomorrow (10.30am-4pm). People can record local field names and folklore on an online map and look at the field names already recorded.

Running for the next three afternoons (Tuesday-Thursday) in Kilfinane Library (Limerick) is an exhibition entitled 'Farmers, Friars and Frontiers, the archaeology of the Ballyhoura Hills'.

On Thursday (10.30am), a walk in Castlewood, Durrow, Co Laois will explore how the farm has evolved over the past 100 years, through changes in ownership and farming trends.

On Friday (8pm), a documentary about the stories and secrets of the River Suck (from Lough O'Flynn to Shannonbridge) as told by the people who live along it, will be shown at Roscommon Arts Centre (booking required).

Saturday (2pm-5pm) is All-Ireland Whale Watch day, when there will be land-based whale-watching on headlands throughout the island. Bring binoculars - and a sense of humour.

One of the last events of Heritage Week will be a performance of church music in Clare by the award-winning Schola Petra Fertile choir on Sunday (1pm) in the old Ennis Friary on Abbey Street.

For full events listings, see www.heritageweek.ie.

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