Supporting Employment, Education & Tourism in Local Communities
Recent research commissioned by the Heritage Council suggests that in 2010, €6.2m of Heritage Council grant-support supported 449 jobs across the country. This research also indicates that the historic environment directly supports over 30,000 jobs and contributes in excess of €1 billion to the economy (Ecorys Consultants). Additionally, Heritage Council investment in County Heritage Plans between 2004 and 2008 supported the creation of 1,012 full-time jobs. A wider network of highly skilled heritage jobs including conservators, thatchers, builders, ecologists, archaeologists, conservation architects and museum curators are also supported through training, bursaries and initiatives.
Education is at the heart of the Heritage Council's work programme. In 2011, the Heritage in Schools Scheme facilitated 1,595 school visits reaching 118,620 children. 80% were outdoor events, ensuring a greater appreciation by children of natural and cultural heritage. Through National Heritage Week, the Heritage Council promotes greater public awareness of the value of maintaining and protecting our natural and built heritage. The Heritage Council also supports education and awareness-raising initiatives through its grants programme. Council is currently looking to expand our commitment to third-level education by developing, in partnership with third-level institutes, qualifications in Landscape Character and in Biological Recording.
In 2010, 2.9 million overseas visitors engaged in cultural activities in Ireland (Fáilte Ireland). Cultural tourism and activity holidays based on our natural landscapes and countryside continues to grow, out-performing all other tourism sectors. This growth requires ongoing investment in national heritage if the quality of what is being marketed is to be sustained. The Heritage Council supports this continued growth through its grants schemes, core-funding provision, education, policy and research initiatives.