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Many schemes now available to support heritage and history projects

Today a pandemic and in the future a past event that will be spoken of for many more years to come - there has not been a global concern such as this in many a decade - that being the Corona Virus or COVID-19.

Regardless of the source of the outbreak, the impact that it is having around the world is of high concern, reminding many of such outbreaks in the past such as the Spanish Flu in 1918/1919 and not least the Black Plague which swept across Europe in 1348, taking the lives of close to fifty million across the continent.

That year the population of the walled town of Cork, then only 2,000, was reduced to 1,000 as a result.

As a result of COVID-19, so many events, meeting and initiatives that had been proposed over the coming weeks, have since been and most understandably, cancelled. Cork County Council has closed its cultural sites for the present, which include each of the County's 25 libraries and such notable cultural heritage attractions such as Spike Island, Camden Fort Meagher, Kinsale Museum, Cobh Heritage Centre, Skibbereen Heritage Centre, Mallow Castle, and in Youghal, the Clock Gate Tower, Lighthouse and St. Mary's Collegiate Church. Other locations such as Bridgetown Abbey in Castletownroche and Michael Collins House in Clonakilty have also been temporarily closed.

Tree Week 2020, which was due to take place from Saturday 21st to Friday 27th March has been postponed. As noted on the Tree Council of Ireland's website (www.treecouncil.ie): 'Following the Taoiseach's announcement in relation to COVID-19 specifically regarding mass gatherings of over 100 people; the Tree Council of Ireland, in partnership with Coillte, has made the decision to postpone National Tree Week 2020 and all related public events until further notice.

'We understand this will disappoint many people who had arranged such Tree Week planting events around the country, but we must prioritise the health and well-being of our communities'.

With regard to Tree Week 2020 in the County of Cork, dozens of groups had already registered to play their part. Cork County Council will contact all intended participants with regard to the revised date for Tree Week, once available, and also with regard to the distribution and collection of trees for local events.

Given the need to combat climate change and enhance local ecoysystem services, it is hoped that groups will continue to seek opportunities to plant trees in their local environment and that, when Tree Week 2020 does takes place later this year, that there will have been the highest number of participants yet.

It will certainly take some time before the country returns to operating in the manner it has been accustomed to until the outbreak of COVID-19.

As always, we should be aware of the manner in which we are operating and the direction in which we are moving, constantly reminding ourselves of the importance of our collective treatment of people, past and present, and the valuing the places that we collectively call home.

There is much we can unearth from the past and by honouring our past we are honouring our future. Presently, there are a number of different schemes open for projects that relate to people and place, past present and future - notwithstanding that many such undertakings will need to be deferred until the threat posed by COVID-19 has been significantly reduced.

Grant Schemes

One grant scheme that has highlighted its effectiveness both in and through people and place is the Creative Ireland County Cork Grant Scheme, which will remain open for applications up until the closing date of Thursday 26 March 2020.

Since the inception of the Creative Ireland County Cork Grant Scheme in 2017, well over 100 different projects have been supported throughout the County and there is considerable interest in the scheme again this year.

Projects must be in keeping with the Creative Ireland Programme and the County Cork Culture and Creativity Strategy 2018-2022 and projects and events for Ireland's National Day of Culture and Creativity for Children - Cruinniú na nÓg - are also being encouraged; this year's Cruinniú na nÓg taking place on Saturday 13th June. For more information or to submit an application email creativeireland@corkcoco.ie or visit the heritage section of www.corkcoco.ie.

In addition to the Creative Ireland Scheme, applications are also presently being accepted under the County Cork Commemorations Grant Scheme 2020.

1920 was a most significant year in Cork with regard to the War of Independence with the weekend of Friday 20 March marking the centenary of the assassination of Tomás Mac Curtáin from Mourneabbey, who was then Lord Mayor of Cork City, and the weekend of Sunday 25 October marking the centenary of the passing of Terence McSwiney, dying after 74 days on hunger strike.

While the days that will mark these centenary commemorations are all subject to change due to COVID-19, one thing for certain is that the significance of these moments will not be forgotten by so many people throughout Cork.

The County Cork Commemorations Grant Scheme is an opportunity for groups and organisations to put plans in place for commemorative projects and events at the local level and a high level of interest in the scheme has already been shown.

The closing date for applications under the Scheme is Thursday 26 March, and for further information visit the heritage section of www.corkcoco.ie or email commemorations@corkcoco.ie.

Praeger Grant in Natural History

The Royal Irish Academy is also presently accepting applications under a variety of schemes, one of which is the Praeger Grant in Natural History.

This scheme is named for the renowned Natural Historian Robert Lloyd Praeger, and welcomes applications (particularly those from amateur natural historians) for fieldwork within the Natural History areas of Botany, Zoology and Geology.

The scheme, which was last run in 2010 has previously funded a wide variety of fieldwork projects, such as 'The diet of the hedgehog in suburban Dublin'; 'The Ecology and hydrology of an isolated tidal pool in karst limestone', and 'A Vegetation survey of Fenor Bog, Co Waterford'.

Further details of the scheme, including application information can be found at (https://www.ria.ie/praeger-grants-natural-history) and the scheme closes for applications on Tuesday 15th April 2020.

Archaeology Research and Radiocarbon Dating Schemes

Also open, and with a closing date of March 24 2020, are the Archaeology Research and Radiocarbon Dating Schemes.

Under the archaeological research category, projects that provide a significant and original contribution to archaeological knowledge will all be considered and 2020 is in fact the first year that the scheme is operating on an all-island basis, supported by the Department for Communities through the Historic Environment Division in Northern Ireland. The radio carbon dating scheme will support up to 12 projects and for more information on both schemes visit https://www.ria.ie/grants.

Corkman