Learning about Co Longford during National Heritage Week

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John Connell

Longford author, John Connell, takes to the River Camlin for Heritage Week

National Heritage Week, one of Ireland’s largest cultural events, runs from Saturday 15 to Sunday 23 August. It will be marked locally by a series of heritage projects developed by groups across County Longford.

Local heritage groups and organisers, families and communities across the country have developed projects around this year’s theme of ‘Heritage and Education: Learning from our Heritage’.

The theme is designed to promote the sharing of experience and knowledge, while ensuring the country’s heritage is more inclusive than ever in restricted times.

Based on this year’s theme, projects were developed around three broad sub-themes: Heritage of your doorstep; heritage and education; and relearning skills from our heritage. All projects shared via the Heritage week website before the end of August will be considered for a National Heritage Week Award.

Discover some of the Heritage Week events happening in Longford:
The Anglo-Normans in County Longford with Dr Kieran O’Conor also, Norman People with the Knights & Conquests Visitor Centre
Camlin Odyssey, with John Connell
Commemorating the Connaught Rangers Mutiny 1920, with Hugh Farrell
Discovering Your Home Place: creative workshops exploring Longford’s townlands, with Ardagh Heritage & Creativity Centre
Edgeworthstown’s place in the beginning of our primary schools, with the Edgeworth Society
The Farrell Clan - a collection of memories and stories, with the Farrell Clan & Anna Delaney
‘IX’, with the Longford Vintage Club on the history of the iconic Longford registration prefix
Let me tell you! Rural life objects from North Longford, with the Rath Mhuire Men’s Social Club
Life before stone, with Charlie McMonagle
Lockdown Longford Lore, with Meadhbh Ní Bhradáigh & Sally McHugh
Moyne Latin School - Scoil ar leith, with the Latin School Community Centre
Our Family’s Eviction after the Famine, with Aidan O’Hara
The Story of Education in Kenagh, with Paddy Egan
Summer at Ounamoun Nature Reserve, with Noel Kiernan
The Remarkable Bishop O’Higgins, with the Drumlish History & Heritage Society
Virtually Celebrating St. Paul’s Newtownforbes Bicentenary, with Doreen McHugh

These projects will be hosted on the Longford Heritage & Archives Facebook page, the Longford Library YouTube channel and the groups’ own websites or social media channels.

Groups and individuals are still being encouraged to get involved, so new projects will be coming on-stream throughout the month of August; more information is available at heritageweek.ie and from the County Longford Heritage Officer.

Máiréad Ní Chonghaile, Longford Heritage Officer said, “This year, communities and the people of County Longford really got behind this new approach to Heritage Week, which is affording them the opportunity to share the stories of their families, their homes and community with the rest of the county and indeed the country in a new and exciting way.

“But Heritage Week is also a brilliant opportunity to explore our own locality and county, and visit sites such as the Maria Edgeworth Centre, Knights & Conquests Visitor Centre, Creative Ardagh, the Battle of Ballinamuck Visitor Centre and of course the Corlea Trackway Visitor Centre.”

This year, projects for National Heritage Week have embraced a variety of digital and online formats, providing innovative ways to explore Ireland’s diverse heritage - from online talks and exhibitions, to virtual tours, podcasts, videos and blogs.
This focus brings communities together by allowing the public to discover and explore national heritage treasures from their own homes. A small number of physical events are also taking place, albeit in line with the latest guidance on Covid-19. These include:

Séamus Mimnagh will deliver a talk on the historic mills on the River Inny in Ballymahon Community Library on Monday, August 17 at 6pm

A nature walk with gardener Mary Holmes, and the Clondra Community Association, departing the Waterways Ireland building, Clondra, on Tuesday, August 18 at 11am (please wear weather-appropriate clothing and walking shoes, and follow NPHET Covid-19 guidelines)

Martin Morris will give an afternoon talk about the Schools Folklore Collection in Longford Branch Library on Wednesday, August 19 at 4pm

Well-known author, John Connell, will discuss his odyssey on the Camlin River ahead of the publication of his upcoming book, on Thursday, August 20, at 7pm, also in the Longford Branch Library. This talk is complemented by a short film of John on the river, talking about its significance and biodiversity.

Socially-distanced viewing parties of selected project videos in Granard, Longford and Ballymahon Libraries - more information will be available from those branches and their social media. Places will be limited and will be allocated on a first-come, first-served basis.

CEO of the Heritage Council, Virginia Teehan added: “This year in particular, National Heritage Week offers a moment for community engagement and social cohesion.

“With so many of us holidaying at home, National Heritage Week offers new ideas and experiences to build on our renewed interest in heritage.

“The projects showcased give us all the opportunity to reflect on our heritage, and to learn something about our past that can perhaps influence our future. I invite people across the country to visit heritageweek.ie, browse the extensive range of heritage projects that people have worked tirelessly on – and see what small events may be taking place in their area – and connect with their local heritage.”

For more information on Heritage Week events near you, and events happening online, visit www.heritageweek.ie and keep up to date with @longfordheritagearchives on Facebook, or longfordlibrary.ie.