In a little over three weeks' time, Heritage Week 2020 gets underway from Saturday, August 15 to August 23.
The theme for Heritage Week this year is 'Heritage and Education' but given all that is happening and may still happen with regard to COVID-19, a different approach has been taken this year - one focused more on highlighting projects and marvellous past Heritage Week successes - over what has been established practice for Heritage Week being the holding of events.
For the past many number of years, Heritage Week in County Cork has traditionally seen over 150 events in as many as 60 different locations each year. However, this year, www.heritageweek.ie is the location to see all that is happening.
Already a number of fascinating projects from throughout County Cork have been highlighted, with more being uploaded every day. Anyone is welcome to submit a project and, by way of guidance, three heritage specialists have produced videos to inspire and help groups on how to go about undertaking their project, based on 'Heritage on Your Doorstep (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_oV62OLvAeE); Heritage and Education (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=a1RPsUvrugM) and Relearning Heritage Skills (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=49nPl61yUSk).
For anyone looking for additional advice or a strong Cork County focus, simply send an email to Cork County Council at email@example.com.
Heritage and Heritage Week is for all walks of life and all age cohorts. For those youngsters amongst us, the Heritage Council is calling on children, aged four to 12 years of age, to put their imagination to good use this summer by using their Lego bricks to recreate their favourite example of Irish-built, natural or cultural heritage.
Participants must choose their category, build a model, write a short description of what the model represents and why it is of importance. Lego books and kits will be provided for the winners, and the closing date is Sunday August 30. To find out more go to https://www.heritagecouncil.ie/projects/lego-competition.
When we think of heritage, we often think of physical places but, in truth, heritage can also transcend the physical and extend deep into the intangible; that which is part of our culture and very make-up as an Irish people, such as our stories, our Irish language, and the customs that each generation learns from those beforehand.
In Ireland, significant work has been done on a National Inventory of Ireland's Intangible Cultural Heritage and, as part of Heritage Week 2020, there is an open call for applications to showcase elements of Ireland's Intangible Cultural Heritage.
Bursaries will be provided to the successful applicants, where costs for showcasing are involved up to a maximum of €1000. The closing date for proposals has been set for 12pm on Friday, July 24, and for more information visit https://nationalinventoryich.chg.gov.ie/intangible-cultural-heritage-and-heritge-week-2020-open-call-for-applications-to-showcase-irelands-intangible-cultural-heritage/.
On mention of financial support, in the above instance with regard to projects relating to intangible cultural heritage, more and more grant schemes are taking heritage proposals and considerations on board, showing how there is a rapidly increasing, ever-growing awareness as to the importance of heritage and the place it occupies and indeed dominates in all of our lives.
Some are aware of this connection first hand whereas, for many others, heritage is often overlooked until one inevitably discovers that it is our heritage that connects us all.
This sense of connectivity hints somewhat at equality and, on this note, it will be of interest to many heritage groups that the Equality Fund 2020-2023 has just been launched to support organisations and groups that empower marginalised communities and tackle systemic inequality.
It will focus on three strands: empowering women; strengthening communities; and building equality together.
Heritage is a key component under each strand and it is hoped that there will be a number of proposals from County Cork.
The closing date is 5pm on Monday, September 14, and for further information visit https://rethinkireland.ie/current_fund/equality-fund-2020-2023/.
One grant scheme that has shown its ability to transcend boundaries and support culture and heritage in its widest sense is the Cork County Creative Ireland Grant Scheme, run by Cork County Council since 2017.
The scheme, now in its fourth year, has seen great success. In its first three years, 140 different projects have been supported to an amount of over €170,000, not to mention the investment in kind, both monetary and voluntary.
The involvement of groups in the Creative Ireland Programme and their working towards many of the actions in the County Cork Culture and Creativity Strategy 2018-2022 has increased significantly over the years, evidenced by the success of groups in the Grant Scheme.
In 2017, 35 projects were supported; 42 in 2018 and an increase to 63 in 2019.
In 2020 over €50,000 has been allocated to 37 different groups and creative people throughout the County of Cork - showing, that notwithstanding COVID-19, there are so many groups, organisations and people within the County that have no shortage of creative ideas that they can put into practice.
Under the 2020 Creative Ireland County Cork Grant Scheme a whole range of different proposals were granted, each having a strong connection with the key Creative Ireland principles, from the engagement of young people and communities in creative endeavours, to promoting the Irish language and showcasing what the County of Cork has to offer by way of culture.
The running of the Creative Ireland County Cork Grant Scheme highlights Cork County Council's commitment towards supporting those community groups and individuals who are passionate about culture and their creativity in contributing to it.
Applications received were assessed in light of a number of factors including Cork County Council's Project ACT, which seeks to revitalise and reactivate towns in the County of Cork in the wake of COVID-19. Examples of groups supported in Mid and North Cork include Ballyhoura Development CLG; Castlelyons Community Council; Charleville Heritage Society; Glanworth Community Council; Dromina Irish Language Group; Mitchelstown Writers; and Newcestown Historical and Heritage Group.
For more information on the Creative Ireland Programme in the County of Cork visit www.corkcoco.ie/arts-heritage/creative-ireland or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Speaking of Creative Ireland, for the past number of years, Cork County Council has held an annual Creative Ireland County Cork Conference. In 2020, the decision has been taken to postpone the conference given all that is happening. The Conferences over the years have been a tremendous success, and one of the many highlights was when Peadar Ó Riada shared his insight and played some of his hallmark songs during the inaugural conference in 2017.
Peadar Ó Riada is synonymous with the Irish language and, indeed, its music and culture, and for this and many more reasons, Peadar Ó Riada has been named as the Cork Person of the Month 2020.
The award marks Peadar's contribution to Irish culture as a composer, musician, choir director and broadcaster. In 1986, he founded the all-female choir Cór Ban Cúil Aodha.
He founded the traditional University Acadamh Fódhla in 2000, the Irish Cultural trust Iontaoibheas Fódhla in 1999, and in 2011 the international festival 'Féile na Laoch', commemorating his late father, Seán Ó Riada.
Peadar has also acted as Director of Cór Cúil Aodha since September 1971. Speaking on the recent award Peadar said, "It's great to be recognised by the people of Cork who have supported me throughout my career.
"Irish traditional music is my passion and I am thankful that I have been able to do what I love every day."
Ó Riada has also been working on his autobiography over a number of years and says "It's my intention to be very frank in it - so there's a lot of stuff in it."
Awards Organiser Manus O'Callaghan said, "Peadar Ó Riada's own contribution to the Cork cultural and artistic scene has been wide reaching".
Peadar Ó Riada's name will now go forward for possible selection as Cork Person of the Year at an awards lunch on January 15, 2021, at Rochestown Park.