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Friday 31 October 2014

Get a flavour of our rich heritage

Published 09/08/2014 | 00:00

SEASONALITY is not a factor when it comes to exploring and enjoying the wonderful heritage of County Cork, and the summer months always offer something special, not least National Heritage Week which takes place this year from August 23-31.

Never before has there been such a high number and indeed a wide geographical spread of events in the county with over 130 events scheduled to take place in 52 different locations. In the coming weeks many of these events will be highlighted in this column ranging from nature walks to commemorative talks.

The Heritage Council, co-ordinator of National Heritage Week in Ireland, has recently launched a newly designed National Heritage Week website - www.heritageweek.ie - which makes it easier to search for any and all events taking place in your local area.

Over 10,000 people attended Heritage Week Events in the County of Cork last year and this year is set to see an even further increase on this. The Heritage Unit of Cork County Council has also developed a Cork County specific Events Leaflet for Heritage Week and this will be available in Tourist Offices, Libraries and other similar outlets near you, by Monday August 11, if not earlier.

Heritage of course does not begin and end with Heritage Week - in the County of Cork there are always a variety of heritage events taking place. Take for example the Medieval Heritage Tours which take place each Saturday afternoon in Buttevant at 3pm outside of St. Mary's Church along the Main Street.

Buttevant has a history spanning nearly 1000 years and these summer walking tours, launched on June 28 and supported by the Irish Walled Town Network, provide a fascinating insight into the wonderful medieval heritage of Buttevant.

While the Heritage of County Cork is unique it is always important to be aware of heritage developments on a National and even European basis, as quite often such developments have implications locally as well. In this regard from a national perspective, and what should be of huge interest to anyone interested in past generations (including of course those in the County of Cork!), is the recent launch of the Irish Genealogy Website - www.irishgenealogy.ie.

This website contains the Genealogy Ireland records and was launched very recently this past July in the Royal Irish Academy in Dublin by then Minister for Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht, Jimmy Deenihan TD. The website is an extensive heritage resource in itself and is dedicated to helping people in search of their family heritage.

In a European context, and hopefully Cork will have a few nominations, is the call for entries for the European Union's most prestigious prize in the field of Heritage - the Europa Nostra Awards. These Awards cover a whole range of heritage initiatives by anyone from architects and craftsmen, to schools, local heritage groups and even the media.

Eligible categories include - Conservation; Research and Digitization, Dedicated Service by Individuals or Organisations and finally, Education, Training and Awareness-Raising. In fact, the Irish Walled Town Network won one of these prestigious awards in 2014 in the area of Training and Education at an Award Ceremony this past June in Greece.

The 2015 European Heritage Awards Ceremony will take place in Norway, at the Oslo City Hall, internationally-known for hosting the Nobel Peace Prize Ceremony, on 11th June 2015. For more information and application forms visit the Europa Nostra website: http://www.europanostra.org/apply-for-an-award-2015/. Entrants should be advised that the closing date for nominations is Wednesday 15th October 2014.

At this stage it is most important to draw attention to the wonderful network of heritage groups and societies that exist in the County of Cork. It is thanks to these wonderful people that Heritage Week promises to be the best yet in the County of Cork. Speaking of these groups, many will be present at the Celebrating Cork Heritage Exhibition which takes place in the City Hall, Cork City, on Friday, October 3, 2014.

This is an opportunity for each heritage group to highlight the heritage of their area and showcase some of the heritage pursuits and initiatives they have recently been involved in. Certainly a day not be missed for any heritage enthusiasts within the County.

Next week, this column will feature a wonderful selection of Heritage Week Events to give a flavour of Heritage Week in the County of Cork, taking place in August.

Corkman

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