Marie Mannion, Heritage Officer in Galway Speaks to us about the challenges of her role as a heritage officer.
During 2019, the Heritage Office of County Council continued its work to promote
awareness, knowledge and appreciation of biodiversity. The Heritage Officer works to promote interest, education, knowledge and pride in the heritage of County Galway. The following are some of the projects undertaken in 2019:
‘Go Wild’ Summer Camps: Developed two children’s biodiversity 2 day summer
camps with BirdWatch Ireland, Mountbellew Heritage Group and Williamstown Tidy
Towns Group. These successful courses were delivered in Mountbellew and
Williamstown in August 2019. The camps were funded by NPWS and Galway County Council.
Geological Heritage Audit:
Over the last three years Galway County Council, in conjunction with the Heritage
Council, has been working with Geological Survey Ireland in the completion of a
Geological Heritage Audit of the county. This support for a Geological Heritage Audit is critical in raising the profile of geological heritage in County Galway and for maximising its potential, since some of the sites may be otherwise overlooked. In total, seventy- four sites were surveyed and mapped in detail in 2019, in total over the three years, one hundred and thirty four County Geological Sites have therefore been designated in County Galway (thirty seven in 2017, thirty eight in 2018 and fifty nine in 2019).
Cruinniú @ Portumna: This one day event was held on Saturday 20 July in Portuma. It was developed by Galway County Council, Waterways Ireland, the OPW, Irish Workhouse Centre, Portumna GAA, Portumna Anglers to showcase the rich heritage of Portumna and Lough Derg. Over 1000 people attended this free event. That was funded by the Heritage Council, Galway County Council, Waterways Ireland, OPW, Irish Workhouse Centre.
Galway West of Ireland Region of Gastronomy Heritage Projects 1919 The Heritage Office continued working with local communities and organisations gathering information relating to the gastronomical heritage of the county and produce written, audio and video outputs for the website. This included working with
Killimor Heritage working on their gastronomy heritage book.
LAMA Awards: Galway County Council won best heritage project in LAMA awards
for Athenry Town Walls Project. After twelve years of dedicated work the efforts of Galway County Council, Athenry Heritage Centre, Athenry Community Council, Athenry Tidy Towns, property owners, the GAA, the Heritage Council and the Irish Walled Town Network and those of the wider community in Athenry were rewarded when the Athenry Town Walls Project won Best Heritage Project at the recent All Ireland Community and Council Awards. The All Ireland Community and Council Awards presented by IPB Insurance and LAMA, highlight and recognise communities and councils working together, bringing national recognition to projects and developments that may otherwise go unrecognised.
The Athenry Town Walls Project
The Athenry Town Walls Project incorporating the conservation, management and
interpretation of the medieval town walls, the project has transformed how the monument is presented and appreciated. Over the last twelve years, the conservation of the medieval town walls of Athenry has progressed through small- scale but strategic projects. This work is being carried out in accordance with the Conservation & Heritage Management Plan prepared by Gifford Consulting; with funding from Galway County Council and the Heritage Council and in collaboration with a steering Group. Galway County Council carried out ten phases of works around the walled circuit with grant assistance from The Heritage Council and from their own resources. This work was overseen by Howley Hayes Architects and managed by Galway County Council.
Athenry Town Walls Capital Works 2019
Funding sought was from Heritage Council and under the RRDF funds re works to the North Gate. Various permissions needed were sought, tendered for contractor to carry out works. A programme of works for 2019 works was established to complete the conservation of the North-gate. The North Gate is an essential component of the medieval fortifications of Athenry. The wall is a National Monument and along with the rest of the town is included in the Record of Monuments and Places (RMP ref. no. GA084-001) and as such are protected
by the National Monuments Acts, 1930 – 2004. Previous works were carried out to the North Gate in 2016 and 2018. The works included: – Full repointing of all facades – completely all areas omitted to date – Removal of cement pointing to south façade – Installation of stainless steel mesh pigeon deterrents – Application of a protective EPDM roof covering to the existing concrete slab – Code 6 Lead capping to the existing parapet walls – Installation of a new zinc coated steel downpipe and parapet hopper, with below ground drainage at pavement level – Closing off of the portcullis and murder hole openings with ply board to prevent pigeon ingress.
Alcock and Brown 100: Galway County Council Heritage Office, held a very
successful aviation conference in Clifden on Friday 14th June with Alcock and Brown 100 Committee. In the region of 150 people attend this conference. In addition to this we also have worked on the development of an Alcock and Brown school’s education pack, which was funded by Creative Ireland and Galway County Council.
Athenry Walled Towns Day 2019 – This family fun day was held on
Sunday 18 th August. It showcased the wealth of the built, natural and cultural
heritage in medieval Athenry. Over 3500 people attended this event. Event funded
by The Heritage Council and Galway County Council.
Loughrea Medieval Festival 2019 –This 3- day heritage event was held in on 23 rd to 25 th August 2019 in partnership with Loughrea Medieval Festival Committee. Over 20,000 people attended various heritage events over the 3 days including Walled Town Day which was held on Sunday 25 August. Event funded by The Heritage Council and Galway County Council.
Loughrea Medieval Festival win the Le Chéile san Eoraip award at National
Heritage Awards On Wednesday, 6 February, Colman Shaughnessy and Joe Loughnane, representing Loughrea Medieval Festival travelled to Dublin to the Heritage Awards 2018, and for the closing ceremony of the European Year of Cultural Heritage 2018, at the Royal Irish Academy, Dublin. Loughrea Medieval Festival won the Le Chéile san Eoraip award for our ‘A Taste of the Past: Exploring Our European Connections’ event during Loughrea Medieval Festival 2018.
Heritage Grant Scheme as part of Community Grants: 40 Grants were assessed
assigned conditions and monies paid out.
Creative Ireland: The Heritage Officer is part of Creative Ireland Team, worked on
Alcock and Brown Education Pack, Reading the Landscape Course and 120 Years of
Local Government Films and events.
Food and Heritage Bus Tour (Free Tour Celebrating Heritage Week 2019)
Connemara Food and Heritage Bus tour took place on Thursday 22 nd August. The tour was led by Michael Gibbons, Archaeologist and Padraig O’Raighne, Food Tour Expert and visited Inagh Valley Lodge, Ballinakill Graveyard, Tullycross and Renvyle Castle
Battle of Aughrim Visitor Centre
Working with Corporate Services Section on upgrading the centre and development
of education resources and programming events during the season.
Providing advice and guidance on various aspects of biodiversity including tree
planting, dealing with invasive species and pollinator plans to Tidy Towns,
Community and Schools Groups throughout the county. Set up a ‘Boxes for Bees’
School Project and a number of schools received a school visit and a box and seeds
for planting. Worked with the Environment Section on the development of
brochures for Portumna Bathing area. Provided input into the development of
Kilcornan Heritage Trails. Worked with Creggs Tidy Towns on their Heritage and
Biodiversity Audit. Applied for funding from NPSW to run workshops, produce
leaflets and short films relating to biodiversity issues.
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