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Minister Humphreys announces Ireland’s Heritage Hero

Nine Heritage Projects recognised under Heritage Council’s Heritage Awards

Minister Heather Humphreys today named Matt Farrell from Co. Longford as Ireland’s Heritage Hero. The award was presented at the Heritage Council’s Heritage Awards Ceremony recognising the fantastic work of the heritage community in Ireland and showcasing the best of National Heritage Week.

Presenting the Heritage Awards, Minister for Arts, Heritage, Regional, Rural and Gaeltacht Affairs, Heather Humphreys TD, said “I would like to congratulate each of the heritage projects receiving awards today and in particular Matt Farrell, Ireland’s Heritage Hero. The individuals, professionals and community groups, many of whom are volunteers, who work tirelessly to protect and preserve our heritage, are the backbone of the heritage sector. As someone who was a member of my own local heritage group I understand the great fulfilment you can achieve by being involved in heritage, but I also understand the huge amount of commitment required. It’s great to see that commitment recognised for so many heritage organisations here today.”

Speaking at the ceremony, Michael Starrett Heritage Council CEO said, “the common theme among all those being recognised here today is one of dedication to the conservation, protection and promotion of local heritage and community. Through the fantastic platform of National Heritage Week the public has had the opportunity to engage with a range of diverse and unique projects, making heritage accessible to all.

Congratulations also to Matt Farrell, who has been named Ireland’s Heritage Hero in recognition of his outstanding contribution to the protection and promotion of heritage in Ireland and particularly in Edgeworthstown where he has spent a lifetime involved in community development”.

A total of nine awards were also presented to Heritage Week projects.

The LEAP Project in Co. Sligo was presented with the Hidden Heritage Award for their event, The Bucks & The Thrashers, which brought history to life with a street theatre re-enactment of the feud between Thomas Fenton of Castletown Easkey and Major John Hillas of Donecoy in 1816.

The Irish Workhouse Centre in Portumna, Co. Galway was presented with the Reaching Out Award for their event encouraging German and French visitors to find out more about Irish connections to the Franco-Prussian War.

Newry, Mourne and Down District Council and Ring of Gullion Landscape Partnership were presented with the Cool for Kids Award for their event, Footsteps in the Forest, which celebrated local folklore in the Slieve Gullion Forest Park.

Matt Farrell who was named Ireland’s Heritage Hero established Edgeworthstown District Development Association and the Edgeworth Society in 1994. Recently he has been the driving force behind the Edgeworth Heritage project which involved the establishment of the Edgeworth Heritage and Literary trail which takes in Edgeworthstown House and Walled Garden, St. John’s Rectory with its Wilde and Goldsmith connections and St. John’s Graveyard and Church. This took years of hard work in the gathering of research and the conservation and preservation of the graveyard, the Rectory, the Schoolhouse and the Fair Green. It also involved ten years of fundraising selling lotto tickets every Saturday night! Matt Farrell’s dedication shows the important link between people and place, and how an appreciation of our shared heritage can build a community.

Winners

Heritage Hero Award
Winner
Matthew Farrell, Edgeworthstown, Co. Longford
Runners up
Leslie Crawford, Monaghan Town, Co. Monaghan
Alan Martin, Dublin Dock Workers Society, Dublin
Dr Mark Clinton, Archaeologist, Co. Dublin

Hidden Heritage Award
Winner
The Bucks & the Thrashers by The LEAP Project in Easkey Co. Sligo
Runners up
Dungarvan Shopfront Heritage Trail in Co. Waterford
Queer Republic of Cork by Cork LGBT Archive

Reaching Out Award
Winner
The War before the Great War by The Irish Workhouse Centre in Portuma, Co.Galway
Runners up
John Saul Horticulturalist from Castlemartyr to the White House by The Castlemartyr John Saul Appreciation Society in Co. Cork
Tunnel Vision: Going Underground by Casino Marino OPW

Cool for Kids Award
Winner
Footsteps in the Forest by Newry, Mourne and Down District Council and Ring of Gullion Landscape Partnership in Co. Armagh
Runners up
Discovering Biodiversity in a Community Garden by Global Action Plan Ireland in Ballymun, Dublin 11
Stick Sunday by Down to Earth Forest School in Knocknacarra, Co. Galway