Ireland to honour its Heritage Heroes at the National Heritage Awards 2019

As one of the signature events of the National Heritage Week, Ireland’s National Heritage Awards are dedicated to honouring the exceptional efforts of heritage groups and individuals towards preserving and promoting Irish heritage. Every year, entrants for the awards, in four categories, are awarded by the Heritage Council at the heritage events closing ceremony for that year. The National Heritage Awards recognise the most inspiring people, events, organisations and projects which contribute to the care of the built, cultural and natural heritage of Ireland.

Entries for the nominations for the National Heritage Awards 2019 will be open in August. Some of Heritage Week’s most engaging events, and the people behind them, will be recognised and celebrated at the ceremony.


National Heritage Awards 2018 Winners

The National Heritage Awards 2018 had a special ceremony at the closing ceremony of the European Year of Cultural Heritage 2018. The Royal Irish Academy hosted the event, attended by the Minister of State at the Department of Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht, Seán Kyne TD. A special fifth award was added to the list on this occasion. Le Cheile san Eoraip Award celebrated the organisers of events during the EYCH 2018 which explored the international character of Irish heritage through its connection with other European places.

Heritage Hero Award

Out of 592 nominations for an individual whose work in the field of heritage makes a big difference, the Heritage Council decided to award Eugene Dunbar from County Westmeath with the Heritage Hero title. Eugene’s work includes being a founding member of ETHOS, a group dedicated to promoting local heritage in Tyrellspass; being a dedicated guardian of Cloncrow Bog, a Special Area of Conservation; a member of the Community Wetlands Forum and Birdwatch Ireland. His local heritage work includes organization of traditional music sessions and a weekly comhra, an Irish language conversation group, in the village. He also organises geology lectures, biodiversity walks, field trips and much more.

Hidden Heritage Award

The Hidden Heritage Award is aimed at celebrating event organisers who help their communities to explore the forgotten aspects of Irish national heritage during National Heritage Week. The award was presented to By hammer, lens and pencil - Kerry Geo Adventures/Kerry County Museum, an event which told a story about Irish nature, archaeology and people through drawings by the Irish geologist Frederic James Foot. 

Heritage Communities

The Heritage Communities Award was given to the Creative Connections - Crawford Art Gallery in Co. Cork. The project has given the opportunity to women living in the East Cork Area, some of whom are living in Ashbourne House Hotel Direct Provision Centre, to meet with others, learn and share textile techniques, and to try something new.

Cool for Kids

Projects dedicated to encouraging heritage exploration by the youngest Heritage Week participants are awarded with the Cool for Kids Award. The recipient of the 2018 award was The Master and the Mystery - The Irish Workhouse Centre in Co. Galway. Children, together with their parents, had the opportunity to learn about the life in the 19th century workhouses through a play which explored the issues of poverty and homelessness in the 19th century and today. 

Continuing the tradition of celebrating local heritage and its link to European roots, National Heritage Week, and the National Heritage Awards 2019 will celebrate the roles of communities in heritage making, preservation and promotion.

National Heritage Week website:

More info about previous editions of the awards can be found here: