The National Heritage Awards 2018 and closing ceremony for the European Year of Cultural Heritage took place on 6th February. The special event at the Royal Irish Academy, Dublin was attended by Minister of State at the Department of Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht, Seán Kyne TD and presented by RTÉ broadcaster, Mary Kennedy.
Hosted by the Heritage Council, the National Heritage Week Awards highlight Ireland’s ‘heritage heroes'. They showcased the most engaging and innovative National Heritage Week events. Close to 700 nominations were received across five categories in 2018.
National Heritage Week Awards Winner 2018
- The Heritage Hero Award: Eugene Dunbar. A founding member of ETHOS (Everything Tyrellspass Has On Show), a group set up to promote and enhance local heritage in Tyrellspass. Eugene is also involved with the Community Wetlands Forum, Birdwatch Ireland and the Clongrow Bog; and he regularly organises traditional music sessions, Irish language conversation meetups, geology lectures and biodiversity walks in Tyrellspass, Westmeath and beyond.
- The Hidden Heritage Award. ‘By Hammer, Lens and Pencil’, an exhibition by Kerry Geo Adventures and Kerry County Museum. This project shared a story about forgotten Irish geologist Frederick James Foot (1830-1867), who surveyed the Irish landscape in North Kerry. The exhibition mainly focused on his artistic drawings, which had never been on public display before. Through Foot’s artwork, the collaborating organisations were able to reconstruct features of coastline, nature and archaeology of past times.
- The Heritage Communities Award: ‘Creative Connections’ at the Crawford Art Gallery, Co Cork. This project saw pathways created for women living in Direct Provision to get to know some of their neighbours outside of the accommodation centre through working together in the local parish hall to create individual textile panels.
- The Cool for Kids Award: ‘The Master and the Mystery’ at The Irish Workhouse Centre, Galway. This dedicated children’s event shared the challenging story of the workhouse system through art and drama. Each child was presented with a special pack which explored the parallels between poverty and homelessness in Ireland in the nineteenth century and today.
EYCH Special Category Award | Le Chéile san Eoraip Awards
As part of the European Year of Cultural Heritage 2018 which encouraged communities throughout Ireland to ‘Make a Connection’ with Irish and European heritage, a special category was added to the National Heritage Awards 2018. The Le Chéile san Eoraip Award gave special recognition to event organisers who explored heritage links between their community and a country in Europe. The three winners were:
- Peat Crossing Borderlines | Irish Peatland Conservation Council. The Irish Peatland Conservation Council’s event shared the Dutch-Irish ‘Save the Bogs’ story and built awareness of the importance of Ireland's peatlands at a European level, strengthening the connection between Ireland and the Netherlands.
- An Exhibition of Kilrush Ceramics | Kilrush and District Historical Society. This exhibition celebrated the once nearly forgotten ceramics industry in a small West Clare town, and its European connections. From 1961 to 1983, Kilrush Ceramics, owned by the Ueblacker (later Rosenthal), employed over 100 people. The exhibition showcased a selection of its colourful and quirky products made at the factory and explored its history in an Irish and European context.
- A Taste of the Past: Exploring Our European Connections | Loughrea Medieval Festival. This event highlighted the cultural similarities and differences between Ireland, Hungary and Spain through talks, food and drink, and music from all three countries.
Find out more about the National Heritage Awards 2018 here. If you would like to have a say in the new national heritage plan for Heritage Ireland 2030, you can find ways here to give your views via email, online survey or workshops.
The Heritage Council is organising a public meeting for the midwest of Ireland, taking place on Tuesday, 19th February, from 6.30pm to 9pm in the Claregalway Hotel, Co Galway. Details and registration here.