Heritage Council Launches Irish Programme for European Year of Cultural Heritage 2018
29 January 2018

Heritage Council Launches Irish Programme for European Year of Cultural Heritage 2018

Monday 29th January saw the launch of the Irish programme for European Year of Cultural Heritage in the National Museum of Ireland. This year-long programme is a European initiative, designed to put a spotlight on Europe’s wealth of cultural heritage and involve all citizens in events that promote a sense of European belonging. The Heritage Council will co-ordinate activities in Ireland on the theme of Make A Connection. The theme aims to deepen the connection between people and heritage and build a legacy of increased public engagement.

The Heritage Council – the statutory body charged with promoting, educating and encouraging enjoyment in Ireland’s national heritage – will work with cultural institutions, heritage organisations, local councils, community groups and individuals to implement a year-long programme of heritage-related public events and activities in Ireland. Ireland's EYCH website has details of events, how to get involved, and funding that is available. 


Launching the programme, Minister for Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht, Josepha Madigan, said that the findings of the European barometer survey chimed with the work of her Department and of Creative Ireland and the Heritage Council in nurturing Ireland’s great appreciation of our cultural heritage.

'It is heartening to see that Irish people know that engaging in heritage – by walking in a forest or by visiting a monument and taking the time to reflect – can have a positive impact on us. Cultural heritage is more than just documenting the past, it’s nourishment for wellbeing and stimulation for the mind.' 

Minister Madigan said the aim of the European Year of Cultural Heritage 2018 is threefold:

'Firstly, it encourages the sharing and appreciation of Europe’s cultural heritage. Secondly, it seeks to raise awareness of our common history and values. Last but certainly not least, it is geared towards involving all citizens in events that help to promote a sense of belonging to a common European space. People and communities – across Ireland – are the custodians of our heritage in all its richness and are very much at the heart of the programme for this year. This is reflected in the theme for Ireland - Make a Connection. This theme aims to deepen the connection between people and heritage and I would like to invite and encourage everybody to participate in Ireland's programme for the Year.' 

Chairman of the Heritage Council, Michael Parsons said:

'The Heritage Council is very pleased to coordinate the European Year of Cultural Heritage in Ireland, an initiative which presents an excellent opportunity for everybody to make a new connection with our heritage, for example by visiting a museum, getting to know the history behind a historic monument in their locality, or learning about our unique landscapes and wildlife habitats. Heritage is our cultural identity, values and traditions that we have inherited from previous generations, live with today, and pass on to future generations. It belongs to all of us and we should all engage with it and contribute to its protection, enhancement and promotion. Our vision for the year is to lay the foundations for a more empowered and connected heritage sector, and better connected audiences.'

National Coordinator of the European Year of Cultural Heritage, Beatrice Kelly said:

'The main focus of the Heritage Council – and our partners across the cultural institutions, local heritage organisations and community groups – is to work together to ensure that everybody takes the time to engage with our heritage during this European Year. We hope its benefits will extend beyond 2018. Heritage is something we can all enjoy and it also plays an important role in supporting social cohesion, both within national borders and across Europe.'

heritage council eych initiatives in ireland

The Heritage Council has developed a number of initiatives to support the implementation of the European Year of Cultural Heritage. They include:

  • An events calendar, available here. The calendar will be updated with events and activities – from workshops, exhibitions and lectures to film screenings and digital projects – throughout the year.
  • The Heritage Council is encouraging organisations and groups across the country to submit events for consideration as an EYCH initiative. Successful submissions will be granted the EYCH label and added to the events calendar.
  • The Heritage Council’s annual community grants scheme will focus on the theme Make a Connection which encourages communities throughout Ireland to build heritage connections that will last beyond 2018.
  • Le Chéile san Eoraip is a special initiative coordinated by the Heritage Council which will see local authority heritage officers work with community groups to research heritage links – literary, historical, craft, architectural, linguistic – between their community and a community in another European country.

The programme for the European Year of Cultural Heritage was launched at the National Museum of Ireland at Kildare Street, Dublin. The Museum will participate in the European Year through a number of activities, including an exhibition called Caution! Fragile: Tradition in Transition by renowned Irish glass artist, Róisín De Buitléar, to be hosted in the NMI - Decorative Arts & History in Collins Barracks, Dublin.

Be sure to visit the EYCH website here to keep informed on their wonderful programme for EYCH 2018!