New heritage portal for Garden County
A new heritage portal for Wicklow groups is being developed and community groups are invited to get involved.
At the recent plenary meeting of the County Wicklow Public Participation Network in Brockagh, Deirdre Burns, Heritage Officer and Catherine Wright, archivist with Wicklow County Council, outlined the background to 'Our Wicklow Heritage', Wicklow's online community heritage archive which was set up as an action of the County Heritage Plan in 2014.
Since that time the site has gone from strength to strength with an annual global audience of 60,000 plus and has proved an imaginative and effective way of connecting people worldwide with stories and information about people, places and topics of Wicklow interest.
It is an open access website meaning that interested individuals register as users and upload text, images, oral recordings or audio-visual footage. To date there are over 500 registered users.
The Wicklow Heritage Forum now wishes to evolve 'Our Wicklow Heritage' to be part of a multi-platform site, an umbrella under which individual heritage recording groups in the county can each have their own independent websites which they manage and for which they are responsible for generating content.
Lorna Elms, Education Officer with the National Museum of Ireland, explained the ethos behind iCAN, the Irish Community of Archive Networks of which Wicklow is a member, saying that community archives bring many benefits to participating individuals and groups, not least in recording and preserving aspects of local heritage, history and culture but also act as a generator of 'Cultural Capital' and a stimulus for social cohesion and pride of place.
Expressions of interest are now being sought from groups interested in being part of the new portal.
Selected groups will be those that are currently actively recording some aspect of their local heritage, be it wildlife, archaeology, history or folklore, and that can commit to continuing to do this and to participate as members of iCAN.
In return for participation, groups benefit from being part of a national network of community sites, availing of the training, supports and the networking opportunities that this brings.
Expression of interest forms, along with further information, are available at www.countywicklowheritage.org and should be completed and returned by July 5.