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HERITAGE COUNCIL BOARD

HERITAGE COUNCIL BOARD

The Heritage Council held its Board Meeting in Sligo from Wednesday, 7 June to Friday, 9 June 2017. Each year, the Heritage Council Board holds one of its meetings outside Kilkenny in conjunction with the County Heritage Office in the county in question.

During their stay, the board members and Heritage Council staff were welcomed to Sligo by Councillor Hubert Keaney, Cathaoirleach of Sligo County Council, Ciarán Hayes, Chief Executive of Sligo County Council and Councillor Seamus Kilgannon, Chairman of Sligo Heritage Forum.

During their visit to Sligo, the Heritage Council Board enjoyed a walking tour of Sligo by Sean Martin and a visit to the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception, Sligo in the company of Fr. Tom Hever and Architect, John Fahy. Thursday saw visits to The Model where the Board was greeted by Marie-Louise Blaney and Chelsea Canavan; at Drumcliffe Church of Ireland, they met with Rev Isaac Hanna and members of the Select Vestry, Peter Langan, Sally Siggins and Jill Barber. A visit to Hazelwood House followed, kindly facilitated by owner David Raethorne and his staff Ollie Alcorn and Noel Fogarty. The Heritage Council were joined on their visit to Hazelwood by Beatrice Macdonald and Wendy Lyons of the Hazelwood Heritage Society. Finally to Carrowmore Megalithic Cemetery, in the company of OPW guide, Pádraic Meehan, a superb visit to end the day.

A reception and dinner was held on Thursday evening at The Sligo Park Hotel as part of the Heritage Councils visit. It represented an opportunity for the Heritage Council Board to meet with the heritage sector in Sligo. A short presentation by Siobhán Ryan, Heritage Officer, Sligo County Council highlighted the key role of heritage in strengthening communities and in placemaking. A memorable musical reflection by Michael Rooney on harp beautifully captured the sense of pride in Sligo’s heritage that was so evident on the night.

On Friday morning, a visit to Sligo Gaol in the company of Tamlyn McHugh (Chairperson) and the members of the Friends of Sligo Gaol was much anticipated and enjoyed by the Board. A visit to Moygara Castle followed where owner PJ O’Neill has spearheaded the Moygara Castle Research Project for over 10 years. The Heritage Councils visit coincided with the last day of a two week excavation at Moygara Castle by First Year Archaeology Students at IT Sligo. Led by Chris Read, Archaeologist at IT Sligo, the Heritage Council had a unique opportunity to see archaeological research in the field at close quarters. Dr Kieran O’Conor, Senior Lecturer in Archaeology at NUIG and member of the Moygara Castle Research Project outlined that many of the reports and studies funded by the Heritage Council over the last 10 years will be presented in a forthcoming publication on Moygara Castle.

The final visit of the day was to Temple House, Sligo, where owner Roderick Perceval welcomed the Board and provided an in depth tour of Temple House, a classical Georgian manor set in a private estate of over 1,000 acres, overlooking a 13th century lakeside castle of the Knights Templar. The many challenges of maintaining and conserving the main house, coach yard and farm buildings were discussed and the ongoing support of the Heritage Council was acknowledged.

The Heritage Council’s mission is to engage, educate and advocate a wider understanding of the vital contribution that our heritage makes to our social, environmental and economic well-being. The Heritage Council recognises the importance of local heritage partnerships and particularly the unique role of local government in supporting communities to maximise the potential of their local heritage resource. The key mechanism to deliver this is through the Local Authority Heritage Officer Network. In Sligo, the Heritage Council, in partnership with Sligo County Council continues to support the work of the County Sligo Heritage Forum and the implementation of the County Sligo Heritage Plan 2016-2020. Sligo Heritage Forum is supported in its work by the Heritage Office, Sligo County Council.