Take pride in your local heritage
February is upon us and with it the start of Spring. 2017 will be a busy year from a heritage perspective and many local groups are busy planning the various projects and events that they will undertake during the year.
There has been a considerable growth in heritage related projects over the past few years, and this upward trend is likely to continue for some time. The heritage projects undertaken vary considerably because heritage covers such a vast area, ranging from our wildlife and folklore to our buildings and monuments. Heritage is most simply defined as 'people and place' and in this regard there is little that would not correlate in some way with the term.
For those interested in wildlife projects, there are so many different worthwhile projects that come to mind. One great source of information for projects is the National Biodiversity Data Centre website (www.biodiversityireland.ie). This website, all well as containing wonderful data on heritage in one's area, also includes details of the All-Ireland Pollinator Plan, a document that seeks to redress the concern regarding pollination in Ireland, by setting out a number of ways that communities can get involved. There are many ways to get involved and some include simply the planting of the right trees in the right place.
The start of March will coincide with Tree Week (and indeed Seachtain na Gaeilge) and Cork County Council, thanks to the support of the Tree Council of Ireland, will have a number of native trees to give out to community groups on a first come first served basis. More details to follow in the coming weeks.
Natural heritage projects are a wonderful way for communities to really get involved and take pride in their area. So too are many further heritage projects, ranging from oral history to heritage trails and building conservation to heritage events. For groups looking to get an up to date and detailed look at the heritage that surrounds them there is no better place to do so than the recently launched Heritage Maps website (www.heritagemaps.ie). This website is essentially the A-Z of Ireland's heritage, from archaeology to the marine aone.
"Heritagemaps.ie allows you to look at a wide range of built and natural heritage datasets in map form, many of which have never been accessible to the public before".
These datasets were created for government departments, agencies and local authorities and are a fantastic resource for education, recreation and research. Types of datasets include pilgrim paths, burial grounds, bat landscapes, maritime museums and walled towns, to name a few, and a visit to the website is highly recommended.
In undertaking a heritage project, amongst the most important ingredients are commitment, perseverance and a love of people and place. Of course, it also helps for any such project to also receive a bit of funding to get the project up and running. February is a good time of year in this regard, with the recent announcement of Cork County Council's Municipal District Scheme.
Municipal District funding is available as financial support to community groups and local organisations wishing to undertake development projects in their area, to support festivals, and for local communities to work with Cork County Council on projects that enhance the area in which the group is active. There are three distinct funding schemes: the Capital Fund Scheme; Community Contracts and the Amenity Fund Scheme. In principal, a number of heritage projects will fall under these schemes. Past examples of successful projects include PA equipment for heritage groups, cleaning of heritage monuments, restoration of stone walls, conservation works to buildings, heritage/tourist signage and plaques, walking trails, contribution to festivals, erection of memorials, etc.
The closing date for receipt of completed applications is 4pm on Friday 17th February and full details are available on Cork County Council's website - www.corkcoco.ie.
Another scheme, which many heritage groups seek to apply under, is the Heritage Grant Scheme, run by the Heritage Council of Ireland. This is a wonderful scheme open to heritage groups throughout the country and the County of Cork has benefitted under the scheme on many an occasion based on a huge array of projects in the County. It is expected that the 2017 Heritage Grant Scheme will be announced at the end of February / beginning of March, and full details will provided once the scheme has been launched.