A free local history seminar Our Wicklow Heritage: Sharing Our Stories, took place in the Brockagh Resource Centre, Laragh on Saturday, 24th November. The morning session featured the latest Our Wicklow Heritage initiatives in 2018 with speakers on a selection of recent projects from Wicklow, including exhibition, animation, film, digitisation and music – showcasing examples of creative ways of gathering and sharing information about Wicklow’s heritage.
Session 1: What’s New:
Heritage & Archives Updates
Wicklow Heritage Officer Deirdre Burns reported on a range of projects including Our Wicklow Women – a community-sourced exhibition to mark the 100th anniversary of the People’s Representation Act of 1918 which allowed women to vote for the first time. Other 2018 initiatives featured included films and storytelling projects – River Liffey Stories and Blooming Bees.
Catherine Wright (County Archives & Genealogy Service) gave an update on the latest collections to be digitised in the County Archives including the Wicklow Workhouse Records, as well as upcoming special collaborative projects – Coolattin Estate tenant records database and the Wicklow-Cumberland Miners Project.
Creative Communities: Sample projects supported under the Creative Wicklow programme
- Kevin and Eleanor Lee from the Coollattin-Canadian Connection told us about their innovative project linking Canadian-Irish descendants to their home-place on the Coollattin Estate in County Wicklow – promoting the rich heritage of this beautiful part of the county.
- Paul Flynn presented on a project from the Schoolhouse For Art which researched and celebrated the lesser known story of artist Paul Henry’s close association with the Enniskerry area and his romance with Mabel Young.
- Fay Whelan from the Kilmacanogue History Society spoke about their oral history project and the development of an online training resource.
- The seminar was treated to a beautiful music performance by a young harpist Rosie Carter from the Bray Harp ensemble. We learned from her mum documentary maker Caroline Hill about the first synod of harpists from Ireland, England and Wales at Glendalough in the 11th century and how it was marked by a concert with new compositions at the Brockagh Centre in August 2018 with the help of Creative Wicklow funding.
Session 2: Wicklow Trails heritage recording project
Hosted by Roisin Burke & Neil Jackman of Abarta Heritage a company specialising in providing interpretation and visitor service solutions to communities, cultural sites and institutions. The company were engaged in 2018 by Wicklow County Council and the Wicklow Uplands Council to co-ordinate the Wicklow Trails local heritage recording project, compiling information on selected ‘points of interest’ from Bray to Woodenbridge as a baseline for future interpretation and tourism services provision. (Read more elsewhere on this site here).
Interpreting your local place
Abarta described their experience of gathering digital content for this project and offered advice for other groups on the options for interpreting their local areas and sharing their stories, particularly in relation to oral history recording. (**Download a pdf of Roisin’s presentation at the end of the page).
This was followed by a lively workshop on “interpreting your local place” where groups presented their ideas on how to tell the story of key locations around the county.
This event follows on from previous Our Wicklow Heritage seminars on the themes of ‘Community Archaeology’ and ‘Making Local History’. These initiatives are organised by the Wicklow Heritage Forum as part of the implementation of the County Wicklow Heritage Plan 2017-22 and as part of Wicklow County Council’s Creative Ireland Programme, aiming to place creativity at the heart of life in Wicklow.