Heritage Week – a celebration of our history, culture and nature

A number of local events are being planned in Donegal this month as we get ready for National Heritage Week. National Heritage Week is a celebration of our history, culture and nature, while promoting the need to preserve our local heritage.

Joseph Gallagher, Heritage Officer for Donegal County Council, talks about the need to celebrate our heritage and the huge selection of events going on for Heritage Week, which kicks off from August 23.

Launch of the County Donegal 'Heritage Week' Event Guide in the Donegal County Museum. From left to right Dinny McGinley T.D, Joseph Gallagher and Cllr. Ian Mc Garvey.

Launch of the County Donegal ‘Heritage Week’ Event Guide in the County Museum, Letterkenny. From left to right, Joseph Gallagher, Joe McHugh T.D. and Cllr. John Campbell.

“People should come along to ‘Heritage Week’ events to enjoy and celebrate our cultural, built and natural heritage!  There are almost 100 ‘Heritage Week’ events taking place in County Donegal including family open days, guided walks, built heritage open houses, heritage site visits, fieldtrips, exhibitions, illustrated presentations, photographic competitions, children’s activities, storytelling sessions, traditional music, craft fairs and traditional skills demonstrations, and much much more” said Joseph

There’s something for everyone!

“Whatever your age, interests and ability, there are heritage events to interest, inspire and engage you.  In fact, this year’s National Heritage Week theme of ‘Generations Exploring Heritage Together’ was chosen to coincide with the United Nations’ 20th Anniversary of the International Year of the Family.  National Heritage Week provides a wonderful platform for families to get together and to rediscover and engage with their local heritage.”

Our heritage contributes to our national recovery by engendering pride, reinforcing our sense of identity, supporting jobs, providing training and educational opportunities and attracting tourists.

Joseph explains what Heritage Week is and how the relatively small initiative grew into the huge festival it is today.

“Heritage Week is a week-long national festival to raise awareness of our cultural, built and natural heritage, to encourage its preservation and to foster pride in our shared heritage.

Heritage Week is very much a collaborative effort.  from The County Donegal Heritage Office, Donegal County Council and The Heritage Council provide advice, information, coordination and support to people who are organising events.  The County Donegal ‘Heritage Week’ Event Guide produced by the County Donegal Heritage Office and the countrywide guide produced by The Heritage Council helps to publicise the events taking place around the county and across the country.  Heritage Week continues to go from strength to strength from 20 events taking place in County Donegal in 2004 rising to about 100 events in 2014.  Much of the success of Heritage Week lies with the many heritage organisations, museums, heritage centres, community groups and individuals who organise events every year.”

So why not come along to Heritage Week and discover a little bit of history that should be celebrated and rediscover the heritage on your doorstep.

This year, National Heritage Week takes place from Saturday, August 23 until Sunday, August 31.  National Heritage Week is coordinated by The Heritage Council and Local Authority Heritage Officers with support from the Department of Arts, Heritage & the Gaeltacht and Fáilte Ireland.

County Donegal Heritage Week 2014

County Donegal Heritage Week 2014


Facts about Heritage Week

  • National Heritage Week is part of European Heritage Days celebrated in over 40 countries across Europe.
  • There are over 1,600 events taking place for National Heritage Week across Ireland and most of them are free.
  • Over 400,000 people nationwide are expected to attend Heritage Week events this year.
  • Outside of Dublin and Cork, County Donegal has the most ‘Heritage Week’ events taking place of any county in the country.
  • Over 25 of the events taking place for ‘Heritage Week’ in County Donegal are organised by, or hosted by, Cultural Services of Donegal County Council.
  • In 2012, National Heritage Week created 10,000 bed nights worth over €1.4 million to local economies nationwide. 
  • Copies of the County Donegal ‘Heritage Week’ Event Guide are available free-of-charge from your local library, tourist office, public services centre, museum or heritage centre.
  • For information on events go to heritageweek.ie