July 7, 2020

Growing engagement with natural heritage since pandemic restrictions

The head of the Heritage Council believes people are far more engaged and connected to natural heritage since the pandemic restrictions were implemented. In an interview promoting the National Heritage Week in South Dublin, Virginia Teehan, the CEO of Heritage Council has noticed a stronger engagement in heritage across a range of age groups in the last few months. 

Ms. Teehan explained that local heritage groups, communities and families are all invited to work on projects related to the theme of heritage and education for the upcoming Heritage Week, due to take place between the 15th and 23rd of August. The Heritage Council stated to the Irish Times that since the restrictive measures have been put in place they have noticed that people are more engaged with heritage, they are more aware of their surrounding natural heritage, even on a local, micro scale.

Ms. Teehan explains that people are more aware of the nature surrounding them, of the butterflies, bees, the natural heritage near their homes and the history of their home area and family members. People have more opportunities to engage and reconnect in ways that previously have not been possible. In short, people were simply too busy to appreciate all of these things.

The Heritage Council has noticed a particular rise in interest from children about their natural heritage. People are being more considerate about where they came from, their identity and their surrounding environment.

Ms Teehan believes our engagement and connections we have with society is stronger now than it was at the beginning of the year as well as the concept and role of identity and Irish identities. Josepha Madigan, the Minister for Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht explains that this year’s Heritage Week offers an opportunity to embrace and reconnect with communities and families and in particular across generations. Madigan explains that they are interested to see projects that show good inter-generational involvement, emphasising that the younger generation could play a vital role in promoting projects in digital formats. 

Expressions of interests and project designs must be submitted to Heritage Week and completed by the 4th of August. The Heritage Council will showcase a selection of the most engagement projects online during Heritage Week.