By Lisa Marie Griffith
The Department for Tourism Sport and Heritage have announced that there were over 1.4 million visitors to museums, galleries, archives, libraries and concert halls in Ireland in the first half of the year. Considering the decline in Irish tourism, this 9% rise is quite an astonishing number over a six month period and it shows that we are more committed than ever to supporting culture . The biggest cultural event of the year is taking place this week and I was prompted by their beautiful new tv advert for Heritage Week to go online and check out what is going on. The ad promises such a huge amount (art, music, history, archeology, genealogy… the list seemed endless!) which is not surprising considering so many organisations and institutions around Ireland can classify themselves as heritage and are taking part. The scale of the Heritage Week line-up suggests that it has not been hit by the budget cuts but this probably has more to do with the fact the week seems to run because of the enthusiasm of already involved staff members who are keen to promote their organisations rather than increased government funding for a week a year. Indeed, with such an impressive list of free events its not surpsiring that Irish people are turning increasingly to events like this for entertainment.
Apart from all of the historical institutions involved, however, Heritage Week has a particular importance for the community of researchers. The week merged itself with the Archive Awareness Campaign last year for the first time and promotes archives within communities. Considering the threat of funding that Archives in Ireland is facing in general as well as the proposed merger for the NAI and NLI which threatens to undermine funding and the collections within these institutions it is particularly important as a week which can bring more readers into archives and which highlights the importance of the archive within the community.
The events list is jam-packed with things to do so bearing in mind that it is difficult to have a good over view of all of the events going on here are just some that I thought I would highlight:
Cork: “Dancing at the Crossroads”: Going on in Mallow in Co Cork, I think this sounds wonderful. The site describes the event by the following: ‘Laharn Cross is the location where people gather each and every Sunday night throughout the summer months to enjoy live traditional music. People, both young and old are invited to dance the evening away on the specially erected wooden platform.’
Dublin: Lunchtime talks at the Guinness Store House: ‘A series of Lunchtime Talks at the Guinness Archive, GUINNESS STOREHOUSE, to celebrate Heritage Week and Archive Awareness Campaign 2010. No admission charge. Limited places available. Tickets will be allocated on a first come first served basis. Prebooking essential To reserve your ticket please Email: firstname.lastname@example.org’ Also Dr Maire Kennedy is holding a lecture called ‘Tracing your ancestors’ at the Dublin City Library and Archive 25 August.
Galway: There are Free guided tours around Kylemore Abbey, 21-29 August: ‘Discover the history of Kylemore from talks on Connemara Wildlife to tours of Abbey, Victorian Walled Garden & 19th Century hydro-electrical generator.’
Limerick: ‘History of the King’s Island’ in the Hunt Museum on 28 August: ‘ The seminar gives a great opportunity to learn more about the History of the King’s Island.’
Waterford: “My big day”: First Communion, Photographs from The Annie Brophy Collection (1920s-1970s), hosted in Christ Church Cathedral by the Waterford City Archives.
Please feel free to add your own recommendations for events.
Tags: Heritage Week