Wednesday 16 October 2019

Being creative about heritage

Heritage-rich Baile-Mhúirne is where the second annual Creative Ireland Conference will be held next month
Heritage-rich Baile-Mhúirne is where the second annual Creative Ireland Conference will be held next month
2018 was another great success for Tidy Town groups throughout the County of Cork. Ballincollig finished top of the pile in Cork, and had the national honour of winning Ireland’s Tidiest Large Urban Centre, finishing in the top 3 of the 883 entries this year. Pictured with members of Ballincollig Tidy Towns Committee at the Awards Night was Mayor of the County of Cork Cllr. Patrick Gerard Murphy and Deputy Lord Mayor of Cork City Cllr Fergal Dennehy

Conor Nelligan, County Heritage Officer

Creative Ireland is a five year national programme that seeks to put culture at the heart of who we are and what we do as a people.

The Programme is in recognition of the exceptional role that people and groups have been playing with regards to preserving and promoting culture locally and provides a myriad of supports to encourage continued belief in this culture and creativity in its expression. 

As part of the Creative Ireland Programme in County Cork, a five-year Culture and Creativity Strategy has been undertaken and within this are six key priorities for action with regard to culture and creativity within the county.

One of these is the Irish Language, and with 2018 being celebrated as Bliain na Gaeilge, it was deemed an ideal opportunity to have this as the main theme of the second annual Creative Ireland County Cork Conference, taking place in Baile Mhúirne on Friday, November 9 and Saturday, November 10.

It is at this conference that the County Cork Culture and Creativity Strategy 2018 - 2022 will be launched by Mayor of the County of Cork, Cllr Patrick Gerard Murphy who noted, "As Mayor of the County of Cork, I commend the already excellent cultural involvement by people across the county and warmly welcome the County Cork Culture and Creativity Strategy 2018-2022 - a great opportunity for increased collaboration, participation and engagement in strengthening the role of the very culture that we love".

The Creative Ireland Programme seeks to put culture at the heart of everything we do, and provides the county a great opportunity to enhance and further promote and encourage cultural undertakings. The upcoming conference has relevance for all people and groups concerned with local culture and not least those with an interest in the Irish Language. Community groups throughout the county are encouraged to attend.

The conference will get under way in the Abbey Hotel on the Friday morning, November 9, in the culture-steeped village of Baile Mhúirne, beginning with talks by members of Cork County Council's Culture Team (with representation across the Arts, Library, Heritage, Tourism and Irish sections of the Council) to indicate the various supports and initiatives currently in place for promotion of culture.

The afternoon will feature talks by key people synonymous with the Irish Language including Peadar Ó Ríada of Cúil Aodha and Máirtín Ó Méalóid of Oileán Chléire. Cork County Council's Irish Officer Aileen Loughrey noted that 'this afternoon session will be a wonderful opportunity to get a real sense of the value of Irish within the county and to examine possibilities for its future encouragement and development as we move forward le chéile.

There will be much activity taking place in and around Baile Mhúirne for the conference and attendees will also be able to avail of designated free tours of nearby sites, which will also be run over the two days. The conference is open to all and free of charge. To attend email More information on the Creative Ireland Programme in the County of Cork is available on

The Creative Ireland Programme has added significantly to overall investment in heritage and culture, particularly here in the County of Cork.

Last week's national budget signalled further good news for the Culture and Heritage across the country, including the Gaeltachts, with a 12 per cent increase on 2018 levels now budgeted for 2019.

This increase in funding for the Department of Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht amounts to €36 million resulting in an overall budget of €339 million for 2019.

Within the increases Built and Natural Heritage funding is to increase by over €7.1m and funding for the Arts Council is increasing by 10 per cent to 75m.

Funding for the Gaeltachts, Irish Language and the Islands is increasing by €5m including an additional €2m in funding for Údarás na Gaeltachta to support the maintenance and creation of jobs in Gaeltacht areas and increase supports for Gaeltacht co-operatives, and an additional €600k to continue the implementation phase of the language planning process.

Speaking after the Budget 2019 announcement, Minister Madigan said: "This increased funding is tangible evidence of the importance attached to our cultural and creative heritage under Project Ireland 2040 and clearly demonstrates this Government's commitment to increase spending in the arts and culture sector on a trajectory that will see funding doubled by 2025."

Minister Madigan added: "The increased funding will facilitate further work in terms of the planning and early stage implementation of the Department's 10-year Capital Plan 'Investing in our Culture, Language & Heritage 2018-2027' across all programme areas - together with increased support for arts and artists via the Arts Council and Creative Ireland."

As we turn our attention to upcoming heritage events we can see that more and more is happening in the County of Cork. This weekend the inaugural Terence MacSwiney Weekend takes place in Kilmurry Independence Museum, the opening of which takes place on Friday, October 19, at 7.30pm with a special presentation by Cathal Brugha MacSwiney. Gabriel Doherty will give a presentation on the Saturday morning, a morning, which will also see a session on Terence MacSwiney's poetry by Dr Mary Breen.

The weekend will also feature a tour of local sites associated with Terence MacSwiney and a special Mass on the Sunday which will feature specially commissioned music performed by Peadar Ó Riada.

The event is being supported by Cork County Council through the Creative Ireland Programme and for further information visit

Saturday, October 20, sees two further events that will be of interest to many heritage enthusiasts. In the Nano Nagle Centre in Kilavullen, North Cork, there will be a daylong event celebrating the heritage of Nano Nagle in the tercentenary year of her birth. The day commences at 10am and will see a range of top speakers including Maurice Bric; Charles Lysaght and Declan Downey speaking about the 'Catholic Interest in the late 18th century in Ireland'; Nano Nagle's Mathew Mother's Home and Nano Nagle's Jacobite Heritage and her family's continental networks. For more information on the event visit

Meanwhile in Cork City, at the Cork Folklore Project Centre, a training course will take place. Titled 'An Introduction to Oral History - the Life Cycle Approach', it is a one-day workshop that will offer a basic introduction to all aspects in the life cycle of an oral history project including commissioning, interviewing, disseminating and archiving oral history. It will introduce concepts of best practice in terms of ethical and legal considerations and provide an opportunity for participants to raise questions and discuss issues relating to their own projects. Reduced rates are available for members. For full details and to register visit:

A few days later on Tuesday 23rd October in the Grand Hotel, Fermoy, there will be a workshop taking place for local people and groups looking to get involved in the conservation of local historic ruins. The workshops, supported by Cork County Council's Historic Monuments Advisory Committee, will provide an opportunity to learn how best to deal with such buildings and will address conservation issues, best practice, legislation and procedure. They will highlight practical examples of successful projects.

The workshops will start at 10:00 a.m. involving a series of lectures in the morning followed after lunch by a short afternoon session which will conclude with a discussion and Qs & As. Individuals and/or groups are welcome to attend but spaces are limited and will be allocated on a first-come basis.

The workshops are free of charge and to reserve a place email or phone 0866039773.