Two Donegal-based heritage projects have picked up prizes at this year’s National Heritage Awards.
The National Heritage Awards recognise the enormous contribution of individuals and community groups across Ireland in ensuring the preservation, protection, and promotion of Ireland’s built, natural and cultural heritage.
The local winners this year were the Ballyshannon Regeneration Group and the Irish Wheelchair Charity Shop Letterkenny with Donegal County Museum.
The Ballyshannon Regeneration Group won the Sustainable Heritage Award. With the help of the Heritage Council, Donegal County Museum and property owners, Ballyshannon Regeneration Group’s ‘Ballyshannon Historic Town, Conversation and Conservation’ event aimed to breathe new life into the town, through the reuse of some of the historic buildings. The event featured a walk and talk, with stories and discussion about buildings set for conservation.
The award for best Sustainable and Inclusive Event Award went to the Selling the Past Exhibition, which ran in Letterkenny in August.
The ‘Selling the Past Exhibition’ was an interactive exhibition of items donated to Letterkenny’s Irish Wheelchair Charity Shop, all with links to Donegal’s history. People were invited to browse through the store to find items with tags featuring historical information about Donegal, such as an embroidered cloth that connected the finder with the county’s famous cottage sewing and lacemaking, and a fireside chair inspired by the tradition of visiting and hearing poems and songs.
This year, National Heritage Week celebrated the return of in-person events while continuing to showcase digital projects, which proved popular over the last two years. More than 1,800 events and projects took place around the country in August during National Heritage Week, as communities and individuals answered the Heritage Council’s invitation to explore this year’s themes of sustainable heritage and biodiversity.