Inland Waterways

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Ireland’s inland waterways are important parts of our transport and industrial heritage. They hold aesthetic, recreational and spiritual values, as well as important habitats for many forms of wildlife.

Generations encouraged to explore Heritage Together during Heritage Week 2014

Try your hand at road bowling, experience life as it was in the trenches during WWI, explore the Registry of Deeds Archives, build a Bug Hotel, or discover the hidden rooms of Strokestown House during National Heritage Week 2014, which is coordinated by the Heritage Council, and takes place nationwide from 23rd — 31st August 2014. 

Over 400,000 people are expected to attend events throughout National Heritage Week. 2014 is the UN 20th Anniversary of the International Year of the Family and to celebrate the theme for National Heritage Week 2014 is, ‘Family … generations exploring heritage together’. With over 1600 events schedule to take place, the majority of which are FREE to attend, there really is something for everyone to enjoy during the week.

Minister for Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht, Heather Humphreys TD, said

 "As Minister for Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht, I hold the view that the natural and built heritage of Ireland is a national asset of great importance. This asset has always made an important contribution to the economic activity of communities at both local and regional level.  It is important that we continue to appreciate, conserve and protect this great asset we have in Ireland - our heritage.

Our heritage plays such an important role in celebrating our history, contributing to a sense of belonging and to the distinctiveness of our country.  It is our communities, indeed our families, big and small, that are the custodians of our local heritage and who will pass on traditions and knowledge to the next generation.  I would like to commend the work undertaken by communities in our cities, towns and villages who will make this year’s National Heritage Week yet another success."

Each year events range from medieval fairs, night-time bat walks, wildlife walks and lectures, classical music and poetry recitals, traditional music sessions, storytelling, historical re-enactments, and local history walks and talks. 

Michael Starrett, CEO of the Heritage Council said, “National Heritage Week focuses on getting people involved in the heritage of Ireland and particularly the heritage of the local community, making it accessible to everyone.  We have seen a real shift in people’s interest in the heritage of their places over the past decade and a much greater recognition of the value heritage adds to every community across Ireland. 

Latest figures from the CSO show over 3.4 million overseas visitors travelling to Ireland between January and June this year. National Heritage Week offers huge opportunities for communities to attract visitors to their area and experience the wealth of heritage, which in many cases remains unknown. In 2012, National Heritage Week created 10,000 bed nights worth over €1.4m to local economies nationwide.  With over 400,000 people expected to attend Heritage Week events this year, the potential impact Heritage Week can have for local communities cannot be underestimated.”

The majority of events throughout the week are FREE to attend and there is something for everyone. You can…

-Take part in an archaeological extravaganza in Merrion Square where you can take part in a big dig to find artefacts of your own, see a Viking combat display and learn more about traditional skills.

-Learn about the Monastery at the Edge of the World, Skellig  Michael, which will feature in the upcoming  Star Wars: Episode VII at a lecture in Ennis Friary; 

-Experience life as it was in the trenches for soldiers during World War 1 at Cavan County Museum; 

-Listen to well-known actor Michael Twomey present his story of the Life of Oscar Wilde in Cork; 

-Explore the Registry of Deeds Archives which has over 5 million records of land transactions dating from 1708; 

-Take a tour of Arbour Hill Cemetery and learn more about the hallowed ground of the 14 executed leaders of the 1916 rising; 

-Explore the underground city of Dublin Castle; 

-View Shackleton’s collection from polar expeditions and personal family memorabilia in Athy Heritage Centre; 

-Build a bug hotel and give all the mini beasts of Abbeyleix bog a permanent home; 

-Take part in a medieval brewing demonstration and learn how the monks made mead and ale in Old Mellifont Abbey, Louth; 

-Attend the annual Feis Teamhra which celebrates Tara with music and poetry from Paul Muldoon, Susan McKeown and friends; 

-Visit the Travelling Living History Exhibition in Meath which includes traditionally a built barrel top wagon and shelter; 

-Explore hidden rooms in Strokestown Park House not usually open to the public; 

-Try your hand at the heritage sport of road bowling in Fenor Village, Waterford. 

The diversity and sheer number of events that take place in every county across Ireland is what makes it unique. Many events organised are free of charge and National Heritage sites also offer concession rates during the week itself.

50,000 copies of the National Heritage Week Event Guide will be available in the coming weeks free throughout the country in Fáilte Ireland Tourist Offices, Libraries, OPW Sites, Bus Eireann Stations, County Council Offices etc. Complete event listings are also available on the National Heritage Week website, 

The National Heritage Week Photography Competition is also inviting people to submit original photographs interpreting the theme of this year’s Heritage Week — “Family…generations exploring heritage together”. More details can be found on 

Heritage Week is co-ordinated by The Heritage Council and is part of European Heritage Days, which is celebrated in over 40 countries across Europe. More information is available on and on Twitter (@HeritageWeek/ #HeritageWeek) and Facebook