Ireland’s National Heritage Week is held annually from the second or third weekend in August to the following weekend. This year, it takes place from August 17 to 25, after two years of a different format. It is part of European Heritage Days and is one of the many successful and popular programs that are run by the Heritage Council. The aim of European Heritage Days is to raise awareness of the built, natural, and cultural heritage of European countries. Ireland’s National Heritage Week is no exception and the week is full of events celebrating the history and culture of the Emerald Isle.
History of National Heritage Week
National Heritage Week has been organized and run by the National Heritage Council of Ireland since 2005. From the start, the council has been supported by the Department of the Environment, Heritage & Local Government. Over the course of the last 15 years, the council has also partnered with other local organizations. These include the Local Authority Water Program, the Irish Landmarks Program, and the Design and Crafts Council of Ireland. There is support in the form of government backing and partnering with local organizations. National Heritage Week has grown into a hugely successful nationwide initiative that engages with the community and builds it up.
In 2021, there were more than 2,000 events held across Ireland within the week. The events were a mixture of individually and officially organized. There were small family and friend experiences that were shared online via social media or archives. Large-scale events got entire towns and cities involved and participating.
On the Heritage Council’s official website there’s an archive full of projects. These are events organized by local Irish citizens and submitted to the council for them to keep a record of. The archives are a repository for previous years’ events. The entire point is to keep a record of these celebrations because in celebrating Irish heritage the citizens are also building on it. This recent shift was to create online conversations, projects, and research history. All of it pertains to National Heritage Week. It shows that the week is about uniting the country in their shared heritage and beautiful outdoors. There is also an acknowledgment of how technology and online spaces are the way forward.
National Heritage Week timeline
Most of Ireland gains independence from the U.K. when the Republic of Ireland Act is passed.
The Heritage Council holds the first National Heritage Week in its first year of existence.
Irish journalist and T.V. presenter Anne Cassin hosts the Heritage Week Awards in Croke Park, Dublin to award the organizers of the most engaging projects.
Irish citizens are encouraged to create and organize their own heritage events and share them online with the #myheritageweek tag — 1,055 projects are logged.
National Heritage Week FAQs
What is World Heritage Week?
World Heritage Week is annually observed in every European country at different times of the year. The week promotes the conservation of the heritage and culture of monuments.
Are O.P.W. heritage sites open?
Yes, but there are protective measures in place in order to protect everyone’s health and the sites.
Who owns Dublin castle?
Ireland owns the castle. The property is owned by the Irish government.
National Heritage Week Activities
Organize your own project
Whether it’s with friends and family or you get the whole community involved, why not try starting your own project? It could celebrate ties with the culture and heritage of Ireland in a way that excites you the most. With relatively free rein, you can focus on the things that mean the most to you and celebrate accordingly.
Participate in local events
Get involved with your local community and join in for some heritage week events! Participating in community events is a great way to meet people and make new friends as well as add to the experience of National Heritage Week.
Adopt a monument
There are hundreds of monuments and relics of the past in Ireland, and they need your support. If you have the money and inclination then consider adopting an Irish monument and contributing towards the restoration and upkeep. It’s only through a combination of government and civic efforts that the heritage of the country can be properly preserved.
5 Facts About Ireland That Will Shock You
Independent vs. dependent
Around 80% of Ireland is an independent country, while the remaining portion of Northern Ireland is part of the U.K.
Isle of ice
About 15,000 years ago, the entirety of Ireland was covered in glaciers.
There are no wild snakes in Ireland due to the country being landlocked and preventing non-flying animals from migrating there naturally.
Ireland has been the site of some scenes in blockbuster films like “Star Wars.”
Ireland is one of the biggest exporters of potatoes, lamb, and beef.
Why We Love National Heritage Week
A celebration of culture
Heritage Week is an occasion that encourages people to celebrate the heritage and culture of Ireland. Having a specific time of the year to honor one’s country and all that comes with it fosters a greater sense of pride in their home.
With so many of the events during the week calling for community and family involvement, there is no shortage of community bonding. This creates a stronger and healthier community overall.
A learning opportunity
Heritage week is a great time for learning opportunities if you’re curious about Ireland’s history and culture. It’s also a great time for teaching moments. If you have kids, now is the perfect time to teach them more about their Irish heritage and what exactly it means to them and their future.
National Heritage Week dates