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Tuesday 16 September 2014

A real buzz around the county for Heritage Week

Published 30/08/2014 | 00:00

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On Sunday there are tours of Sing Sing Prison, Knockraha, thanks to Jim Fitzgerald and the Knockraha Historical and Heritage Society, on the hour every hour between noon and 6pm

Heritage Week 2014 is in full swing and the week has turned out some fantastic events to date with some fantastic turnouts as well.

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There really is a buzz about the county during Heritage Week: local historians only too delighted to share their wisdom of their locality's heritage and ears lent, both young and old, to hear all that has gone before us and to discover the natural heritage on our doorsteps.

Heritage Week is a time to reflect on the wonders of the place we call home - after all, we are part of our heritage and our heritage is part of us.

With only a few days left in Heritage Week 2014, one is probably wondering what are the best events to go to? In essence, each and every event is deserving of one's time. Events organisers have been months planning these events and they all offer something special.

One of the most rewarding aspects of heritage week and the events that are organised is that they have such a wide appeal - the turnout at a great variety of events by people both young and old, families and individuals and of all walks of life, is testament to this.

In North Cork on Friday, August 29 there are a number of great events. At 4pm is a walking tour of Mitchelstown's heritage, organised by Seanchas na Gradóige and Michael Bermingham, and later that evening in Doon Peter, Glenville at 7pm, is another wonderful heritage walk taking in the most fascinating site of St. John's Well.

Elsewhere in the county on the same day is what promises to be a most delighful heritage event at Riverstown House (a musical evening beginning at 8pm); a guided tour of the Church of the Immaculate Conception in Clonakilty at 7:30 and later that evening, a Medieval Style Tavern Trail, to mark the beginning of the very popular Walled Town Festival Weekend in Bandon, a festival which is supported by the Irish Walled Town Network and Heritage Council. Carrigadrohid/Killinadrish Tidy Towns Committee, who organised one of the best Heritage Week events last year, is set to host what will undoubtedly be another most enjoyable event on the Friday night, this one a nature walk, followed by a traditional barn dance, commencing at 7pm in Carrigadrohid Village.

The weekend programme for Saturday and Sunday also looks very promising. Between 10am and 4pm on Saturday is a fantastic bus tour of the Inniscarra Area, organised by the Inniscarra Community Centre Heritage Group.

Another bus tour on the same day which also looks most interesting (nominal fee required) is one organised by the Avondhu Blackwater Partnership and Damien Tobin, taking in the wonderful historic towns of Mallow, Fermoy and Lismore. Elsewhere in the county will be a fascinating talk about life for women in the early 1900s, hosted by Clonakilty Library and a most wonderful and popular event that takes place every year - the "Touch Tanks" event in Lough Hyne, Skibbereen. The "Touch Tanks" event, organised with thanks to Terri Kearney of the Skibbereen Heritage Centre, features UCC scientists collecting and interpreting rarely seen species from the Lough with participants getting to touch and feel these rare specimens.

On Saturday, the Bandon Walled Town Festival will also be in full swing with a great day of historical themed events taking place including a children's workshop in the morning and a historical tour in the afternoon.

On Sunday, 31st, the final day of this year's Heritage Week, Bandon will have its main Medieval Day, full of heritage events and activites for all the family, a day which culminates at 5pm in a musical gathering of medieval style musicians and traditional instruments.

In Doneraile on Sunday afternoon is a guided heritage tour of Doneraile Park courtesy of Sina O'Riordan and Doneraile Development Association and in Knockraha, thanks to Jim Fitzgerald and the Knockraha Historical and Heritage Society, there are tours of Sing Sing Prison on the hour every hour between 12pm and 6pm.

There are also a number of other events taking place on Sunday including a symposium on Ireland's connections with Australia in Shanagarry, an Irish Mass taking place in Glanmire, a talk on pirates in Dún na Séad Castle in Baltimore and a Heritage open day in Tracton.

Also worthy of mention is the number of heritage centres and museums that are also open. These of course are not just open during Heritage Week but in many instances are also open for much of the year. Such places include Skibbereen Heritage Centre, the West Cork Heritage Centre Bandon, Cobh Museum, Spike Island, Fort Camden Meagher, and many OPW sites including Desmond Castle and Charlesfort in Kinsale and Barryscourt in Carrigtwohill.

Despite Heritage Week finishing this coming weekend, there is already a number of great heritage events planned for the month of September. Many heritage societies host lectures once a month during the academic year (from September to May) and details of these talks will be featured in this column in the coming weeks.

Also in September are a number of wonderful conferences: - in Drimoleague on the 12th of September is a conference entitled "Looking at Heritage through a Visitor's Eye" organised by the West Cork Development Partnership; from the 19th to the 21st of September in Youghal and organised by Youghal Celebrates History is a conference on the "History of the Quakers", and in Charleville on the same weekend, organised by the Charleville Chamber of Commerce, will be the Eliza Lynch Commemorative Weekend.

The Eliza Lynch Commemorative Weekend, officially announced this past Friday, August 22 by Deputy Mayor Councillor Timmy Collins, will cover the fascinating life of Eliza Lynch; a women born in Charleville over 180 years ago and now the national heroine for Paraguay, South America.

September does look most interesting from a heritage perspective and in the meantime be sure to enjoy the rest of Heritage Week. A copy of the events guide is available electronically on www.corkcoco.ie/heritage and in a number of libraries and tourist offices throughout the County.

Corkman

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