Tuesday 20 March 2018

Join hands and dive into Cork's culture

All About Cork - Heritage Highlights

Conor Nelligan, County Heritage Officer

Much has been happening by way of Creative Ireland over the past few months, with a number of information sessions held throughout the county; the running of a most successful Criunniú na Cásca and the undertaking of a Culture and Creativity Plan (2017) for the County of Cork, which will be officially launched in the coming weeks and shortly available on

The ambitious Creative Ireland Programme offers 'an invitation to the entire country to get involved in something truly inspirational. At its heart is collaboration - between central and local government, between culture and industry, between artists and policy makers - to facilitate an ecosystem of creativity'.

The Programme has five key strands, which are: 1: Enabling the Creative Potential of Every Child; 2: Enabling Creativity in Every Community; 3: Investing in our Creative and Cultural Infrastructure; 4: Ireland as a Centre of Excellence in Media Production and 5: Unifying our Global Reputation.

The Community Participation Strand (Strand 2) is being led by local authorities across the country. In support of the Cork County Culture and Creativity Plan 2017 and the Creative Ireland Programme as a whole, a grant scheme has been put in place.

The Creative Ireland County Cork Grant Scheme 2017 is being financed through monies from the Department of Culture and the Department of Housing, Planning, Community and Local Government. The Scheme recognises the importance of the community sector to the county's culture and well-being and aims to support people and communities in undertaking projects and events that are in keeping with any one or many of the Creative Ireland Programme Strands as well as the County Cork Culture and Creativity Plan 2017, in addition to initiatives that will generate awareness of the Creative Ireland Programme as a whole.

Full details and the application form are available online via or by requesting same via The closing date for proposals and application forms is 16:00 on Tuesday 18th July 2017, and for further information email

Culture and heritage in County Cork is faring well and hopefully the Creative Ireland County Cork Grant Scheme 2017 will be supportive of a number of fascinating projects, events and developments. One development of significant cultural and heritage significance to Cork County is Spike Island, which has been nominated for Europe's Leading Tourist Attraction 2017 at the World Travel Awards, taking place later in September of this year. People's votes really count as part of the competition and those from County Cork and further afield are being encouraged to log on to to vote for Spike Island.

In only six years, Spike Island has become such an important attraction in County Cork, and indeed Ireland, seeing upwards of 30,000 people each year, with that number expected to grow considerably this year and in the many years to come. Other developments such as the community led Camden Fort Meagher, and fantastic heritage led work in North Cork towns such as Buttevant and Mallow, is really increasing the draw of tourists.

With regard to tourism in our historic towns, the Heritage Council has recently brought out a very useful document that sets out to help residents in towns across Ireland develop a sustainable tourism sector. Developing a a viable tourism sector that provides employment and improves the liveability of a place is a long process requiring operation, careful planning and targeted actions. The document, which is available to view on the Raising Awareness Section of, provides guidance on how people can get together and devise an appropriate way forward. There are short descriptions of inspirational projects that have successfully used the cultural heritage of their town and information is also provided on likely funding sources and useful reading.

As we take a look ahead to this week's events there are a few that will be of interest from a heritage perspective. Both Friday 30th June and Saturday 1st July from 10:00 to 16:00 both days, will see 'Leave No Trace' workshops take place in Fota. Organised by South and East Area Development, the workshop on Friday is oriented around community groups and individuals (employees and volunteers) while Saturday's workshop will be oriented around families. The location for both will be Fota House Frameyard and Orchard as well as the Fota Scout Centre.

It is likely that there will be considerable interest in this event, particularly by local community Councils and Tidy Town landscapers, as well as farmers and people who might want to know more about the seven Leave No Trace codes as they apply to the Irish countryside. The family-oriented workshop will be geared towards casual recreation and enjoying the Great Outdoors in a manner that has no-impact on the environment.

The venue will be both indoors and outdoors and there will be a walk of a little over a kilometre between Fota House and the Scouts' area so wellies and other appropriate outdoor clothing is recommended, as well as a packed lunch. For more information visit and and to book a place email

Also on Saturday 1st July will be the opening celebration for Greywood Arts commencing at 6pm and followed by food, stunning art and spectacular music. Housed in an historic 18th century building, along Main Street, Killeagh, Greywood Arts will be a multi-disciplinary artists' residence and on the evening those present will get to meet artist-in-residence Naomi Litvack, who will share her paintings-in-progress, as well as a concert by Cork's own Anna Mitchell. Paintings by local artists Belinda Walsh and Sinead Ni Chionaola will also be on display and a concert will also be provided by Natasha Bourke.

Greywood Arts is like a guesthouse for artists, where they can stay in self-catering accommodation and have access to workspace. They visit for a week, a month or even longer to delve into a project and explore their artistic process. The three-story Georgian building offers a light filled visual arts studio and a movement studio with a vaulted ceiling for performing artists. A desk for writers overlooks the Dissour River, and the library holds a piano for musicians. The large rustic stone walled dining room doubles as a space for meetings. The adjacent Glenblower Wood is the perfect spot for long walks, and the character filled house invites reflection and inspires creativity. With four guest rooms, Greywood Arts can accommodate up to eight visitors at a time. Artists are encouraged to engage with the community in the form of work-in-progress showings, demonstrations, readings, or concerts. It's a brilliant addition to Killeagh, and a great amenity for East Cork. For more information email

Lastly, and as an important note, Cork County Council, supported by the Heritage Council and in conjunction with Research and Dig and Acadamh Fódhla, has been undertaking a conservation, management and interpretation plan to look at the importance of the Múscraí Gaeltacht and how its heritage can be safeguarded and promoted long into the future.

The project, which has had extensive consultation to date has examined in a holistic manner, the wonderful heritage that the area possesses and has also identified a number of actions that could be implemented for the further protection and indeed promotion of heritage in Múscraí.

The document is now nearing completion and next week there will be two public consultation meetings to discuss the content of the Draft Plan and to take on board any suggestions and comments. The first discussion evening takes place in the Mills, Baile Bhúirne, on Wednesday 5th July commencing at 18:30 and the second evening takes place at the same time on Thursday 6th July in the G.A.A. Clubhouse in Beal Átha'n Ghaorthaidh. All are welcome to attend and any comments/suggestions and recommendations on the plan as a whole can be emailed to up to Monday 24th July 2017. The Draft Plan to date is available to view by visiting

Next week's column will take a look ahead to the many events taking place in July.