Grant Aided Projects in County Wicklow
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Wicklow Community Action Days
The Heritage Office co-ordinated a programme of four Community Action Days throughout 2008. Each event consisted of a morning of themed talks, presentations and discussions, targeting areas of interest to community groups and individuals, followed by an afternoon visit hosted by the local community. The events were held on Saturdays to facilitate greater community participation.
The overall aim of the programme was to recognise, support and assist the valuable contribution of community groups and individuals all over Wicklow in carrying out activities to enhance and maintain their local areas. Whether it is developing new facilities such as a community hall, organising clean ups, developing wildlife areas or recording their local heritage, local, voluntary action goes a long way to making the towns, villages and rural areas of Wicklow better places to live and work.
The Programme sought to promote and advertise services and resources available from Wicklow County Council and other bodies to support communities in their initiatives. This involved the participation of other departments of the council, namely the Environmental Awareness Office and Community and Enterprise section in the events, and the involvement of the Wicklow LEADER Company and Wicklow Volunteering Centre.
The four events were held as follows:
1. Community Halls, Brokagh Resource Centre, Laragh , 10th May. Presentation of the results from the audit of Community Halls in County Wicklow carried out by Wicklow County Council and Wicklow Rural Partnership.
2. Your Local heritage, Lawless Hotel, Aughrim, 21st June. Presentations from Pat Dargan (DIT) on the development of Wicklow’s Villages, Heritage Officer Deirdre Burns on some Wicklow examples of good practice, Rachel Kavanagh on Wildlife on your doorstep, and Jim Callery, Environmental Awareness Office on “green community living”. Afternoon guided tour of village by Aughrim Tidy Towns Group.
3. Graveyards – A local heritage resource, Delgany, Old Schoolhouse Parochial Hall, 9th August. Presentations from Chris Corlett , Archaeologist , Dept. of the Environment, Heritage and local Government on the value of Historic graveyards, Deirdre Burns, heritage Officer on best practice when working in graveyards, Catherine Wright, Wicklow Family History Centre on genealogical value of graveyards, and Moira Byrne, Environmental Awareness Office on ‘having a green graveyard’. Afternoon visit to Delgany Early Christian Burial Ground , hosted by Delgany graveyard restoration committee.
4. Supporting Local Action, Grand Hotel, Wicklow Town, 11th October. Presentations from Heritage Officer, Environment Awarness office, Family history Centre, Community and Enterprise section, Wicklow Volunteering centre, and Wicklow Rural Partnership on the range of services, supports and funding available to assist community groups throughout County Wicklow. Presentation of Wicklow Community Gardens initiative from Suzie Cahn followed by an afternoon visit to the Wicklow Town community Garden at the Dominican Convent.
The programme of community actions days were well attended and the feedback from participants extremely positive. One of the very positive outcomes of the events was the opportunity afforded to participants from different parts of the County to meet up, share ideas and discuss common problems and solutions. Participants particularly welcomed the opportunity to participate in training that was tailored to support their activities, and to meet with and get greater understanding of the role of the various departments of Wicklow County Council and outside agencies. The programme of Community Action Days was supported by The Heritage Council as an action of the County Wicklow Heritage Plan.
Exploring the Mining Heritage of County Wicklow
County Wicklow has a considerable mining heritage spanning the 1700's right through to the 1980's. The main centres of activity were at Glenmalure , Glendalough and nearby Glendasan, and the Vale of Avoca, where mining was mostly centred around lead, zinc and copper. There has been a significant amount of historical recording of the above areas over the years, carried out by the Mining Heritage Trust of Ireland (MHTI) and local heritage groups. The heritage office has supported various local initiatives to promote and protect the mining heritage at individual sites. This has included assisting the Glendalough mining Heritage Group in 2006 under the Heritage and Community Awards for the production of a DVD “The life and Times of the Glendalough Mines”. In Avoca, Wicklow County Council has worked in recent years with the local Vale of Avoca Development Association (VADA), the MHTI, the Eastern Regional Fisheries Board and other project partners on the Celtic Copper partnership, an Interreg project. One of the outcomes of this has been the development of a website www.celtic-copper.ie which includes historical and visitor information on the Avoca Mine Heritage as well as an educational resource for schoolchildren.
In 2007 The Heritage Office sought to promote Mining as an aspect of Wicklow’s heritage on a county wide level through the production of a publication “Exploring the Mining of County Wicklow”. One of the aims of this project was to co-ordinate and complement the efforts of the various groups working in each area. While a considerable amount of information existed for each site on historical mining activity, this was the first time that the information was to be compiled into a non technical, user friendly county wide guide.
As well as providing information on mining heritage, the publication is designed to encourage visits to each area by visitors and Wicklow residents.
The publication contains a map showing Mining trails at each site, these correspond with recently developed way marked walks at Avoca, Glenmalure and Glendassan.
Information for this publication was provided by Avoca Mining Heritage Group, Glendalough Mining Heritage Group and the Mining Heritage Trust of Ireland. Other project parters for the development of walks at each site are Wicklow mountains National Park, Coillte and Wicklow County Council. The production of the publication was supported by The Heritage Council as an action of the County Wicklow Heritage Plan.
The publication, a colour 48 page booklet was officially launched in Wicklow’s Historic Gaol on 18th November 2008. The distribution of the booklet is co-ordinated by the project partners, it is available at local outlets in Avoca and Glendalough or by request from the Heritage Office.