Game of Thrones-themed events, new openings, and the spirit of exploration were just some of the things that attracted over 450,000 participants to this year’s National Heritage Week in Ireland.
The 2017 edition of the festival was dedicated to nature and the marvellous Irish landscapes. Celebrating the European Heritage Days common theme Heritage and Nature, it took visitors to a series of outdoor adventures all across the country. They could enjoy forest trails, history talks, nature-inspired open days, guided tours through historic buildings, and many other activities for both children and adults.
This year also saw a number of new openings, which expanded the celebrations to new places. These included visits to Carnfunnock Country Park and Manor House Walled Gardens in Antrim, a tour in the St Luke's Parish Church in Loughgall, Crumlin Road Masonic Hall in Belfast, and many others.
The creative theme and the newly introduced heritage sites contributed to a 19 percent increase in the number of events. From less than 2,000 last year, the number of planned events in 2017 grew to 2,299, making this year's festival a success overall.
“Heritage Week is really about people sharing and enjoying what is important to them, what they value most about where they live and work and visit. We all feed off the energy and the evidence shows that with the very modest encouragement we are currently able to provide people and communities just do the rest. Increased awareness and understanding of the value of our heritage, natural and cultural, can only be good for us all in the long run,” said Michael Starrett, Heritage Council Chief Executive.
The discovery opportunities during National Heritage Week 2017 had an incredible value for the citizens of Ireland. The participants could expand their knowledge about different aspects of heritage and prepare to enter a new, promisingly exciting European Year of Cultural Heritage.
In 2018, Ireland will join the rest of Europe in celebrating The Art of Sharing theme, which will highlight new links between heritage and people. The events are set to take place between 18 and 26 August, and the organisers invite everyone to get involved!