Sunday 26 May 2019

Recognising International day of monuments and sites

Conor Nelligan, County Heritage Officer

Around the world, societies are taking note of the importance of heritage, culture and many different aspects and attributes of our ways of life - past and present - and the areas we need to focus on to improve the world for everyone living in it.

Much of this thought and invoked action manifests itself in the observation of international themes on commonly held days of the year.

April is a month that sees many such observances, from World Health Day on April 7 and World Sculpture Day on April 27 to World Book Day on April 23 and World Creativity and Innovation Day on April 21.

Another key day in April is today, April 18, which is the International Day of Monuments and Sites.

In Ireland there is no shortage of archaeological monuments and sites; indeed, around the country, there are 138,800 records, with over 19,000 of these in County Cork alone.

These range from our 4000-year-old stone circles to our 1500-year-old ringforts and from our 17th-century fortified houses, to a range of other sites including Tower Houses, Monasteries, High Crosses and Bridges.

Many industrial sites are also included in the record, and Cork County Council has recently announced that this year it will be undertaking a publication on the Industrial Heritage of County Cork, seeking suggestions, recommendations and submissions from the public for inclusion in the book (for more information, you can email

In recognition of the International Day of Monuments and Sites Spike Island is holding an exhibition and a talk by Enda O'Flaherty on disused school houses.

All are welcome to attend the talk, which commences at 2pm, and for more information visit

Hardly a week goes by without there being an international day of some note and consideration, and the Heritage Unit of County Cork has amassed a number of the key days and dates that relate to our world's culture and heritage, available to see online at

It is wonderful to know that people around the world are focusing on what is important to us as a collection of worldwide communities, and comforting to know that Irish people form an integral part of many such communities.

The Irish Diaspora currently stands at over 70 million people, that being those that live around the world who themselves, their parents, or grandparents, were born in Ireland.

The Irish Diaspora in America is considered as being close to 40 million people alone. Ireland's relationship with its diaspora and the diaspora's relationship with Ireland is of great importance, and the Government has recently announced that a new Diaspora Policy is to be brought out in 2020.

This new policy will guide Ireland's engagement and relationship with our diaspora: our emigrants, our citizens abroad, those of Irish heritage and those who feel an affinity with Ireland around the world.

The Minister of State for the Diaspora and International Development, Ciarán Cannon TD, has launched a public consultation process to inform the new policy.

It is important that as many voices as possible are heard, from partner organisations and community bodies to individual members of the public at home and abroad.

All who hold a view on the future of our diaspora policy are encouraged to participate at

Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade, Simon Coveney TD; and Minister of State for the Diaspora and International Development, Ciarán Cannon TD, will host a series of open consultations around Ireland in the next month to discuss Diaspora Policy, and the event in Cork takes place on Monday, May 27, 2019.

Registration for the event will open shortly, and visit for more information.

Written submissions are also welcomed on the proposed policy and can be done so by visiting the aforementioned website or by written post to the Irish Abroad Unit, Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, Iveagh House, 80 St Stephen's Green, Dublin 2.

The Irish at home and around the world are proud of the history and heritage of the Irish nation, and in recent times many have been reflecting on the centenary of the Anglo-Irish War of Independence, which will dominate commemorations over the coming years.

Reflecting on the impact of this period on Irish history, a War of Independence Exhibition will open shortly in Michael Collins House, Clonakilty. The exhibition will provide an insight into and overview of the conflict, and with thanks to Cork Public Museum and the collection itself from Michael Collins House, numerous artefacts will be on display relating to prominent War of Independence figures such as Tom Barry, Tom Hales, Leslie Price and, of course, Michael Collins.

Featuring documents, audio-visuals and information boards, the story of the war will be brought to life, focusing on its key Irish participants, the role of the Crown Forces and the impact of the War on ordinary civilian life.

The exhibition will be officially opened by the Mayor of County Cork, Cllr Patrick Gerard Murphy, at 3pm on Tuesday, April 30, and all are most welcome to attend this momentous event.