Minister for Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht Josepha Madigan TD launches Ireland’s programme for the European Year of Cultural Heritage 2018
The European Year of Cultural Heritage is a European initiative, designed to put a spotlight on Europe’s wealth of cultural heritage, and to involve all citizens in events that promote a sense of belonging to a shared European space. The Department of Culture, Heritage & the Gaeltacht is coordinating Ireland’s Steering Group for the European Year of Cultural Heritage, which is being overseen by the Heritage Council.
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 and thirdly and most importantly, it is geared towards involving all citizens in events.”
“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,” the Minister said.
The Heritage Council, which works to promote, educate and encourage enjoyment in Ireland’s national heritage, is working with cultural institutions, heritage organisations, local councils, community groups and individuals to implement the year-long programme of heritage-related public events and activities to make this year an exceptional one for Irish cultural heritage within the broader European context. The programme of events for the year will be continually expanded throughout 2018.
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.”
The initiatives developed by the Heritage Council include:
- An events calendar, available on a dedicated European Year of Cultural Heritage website. 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 considerationas an EYCH initiative. Successful submissions will be granted the EYCH label and added to the events calendar.
- The Heritage Council’s annual community grants schemefocuses on the theme ‘Make a Connection’ this year, encouraging communities throughout Ireland to build heritage connections that will last beyond 2018.
- ‘Le Chéile san Eoraip’, a special initiative coordinated by the Heritage Council, will see local authority heritage officers work with community groups to research heritage links – literary, historical, craft, architectural, linguistic, etc. – between their community and a community in another European country.