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Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Heritage Council cuts mean no Living History Club funding in 2011


Monday 13th December: Punitive cuts, announced in last Tuesday’s Budget, will decimate the heritage sector and close many small enterprises that are dependent on it. This will have detrimental affects on both our national heritage and the quality of our tourism offering, according to the Heritage Council.

The Department of Environment, Heritage and Local Government’s Heritage Unit, which has responsibility for protected structures, including world heritage sites, suffered a 77% budget cut. National Parks and Wildlife, whose remit includes the protection of our natural heritage and running all our national parks, suffered a 56% cut. The Heritage Council, whose role is to protect, preserve and enhance Ireland’s national heritage, suffered a 47% cut. This is on top of a 30% cut in 2010.
Speaking about the situation, Chief Executive of the Heritage Council, Michael Starrett commented, ‚We are extremely concerned about the disproportionate nature of the cuts to the Heritage sector. While the heritage sector recognises that it must share the burden of the cuts required to tackle the country’s economic crisis, the cuts announced last Tuesday are completely disproportionate in comparison to other Departmental cuts. As a result, the future of heritage initiatives nationwide which have created hundreds of jobs, empowered local communities and enhanced the value of heritage as a tourism resource, are severely threatened".

In 2009, over three million overseas visitors engaged in cultural/historical visits while in Ireland, and spent an estimated €1.9 billion while here. In particular, 76% of tourists identified landscape and nature as the primary reason for visiting Ireland, and heritage is what defines the uniqueness of a country. Funding will now no longer be available to protect and manage our iconic buildings, unique and threatened species, landscapes, cultural collections and rare artifacts, or indeed to support local communities in taking care of their everyday heritage‛.

The majority of counties in Ireland have a County Heritage Plan which is prepared by Local Heritage Fora on behalf of the local people and the Local Authority. Research conducted in September 2010 by economist Jim Power examined the economic value of these County Heritage Plans. The implementation of these plans between 2004 and 2008 at a cost of € 6.15m supported the creation of 1,012 full-time jobs in small businesses across the regions, with an estimated return of €30.1 million to the economy. Between 2004 and 2008, the €6.15m that the Heritage Council invested over 26 local authority areas led to an additional investment of around €10 million from other sources.

Looking at the economic impact of an event such as the Irish Walled Towns Day held in Youghal during National Heritage Week, KPMG analysts found that support
of €16,000 to the Irish Walled Towns Network for the day brought a return of €480,000 in to the local economy.

Our shared heritage is the country’s inheritance that we only get to borrow for a time, enjoy, and benefit enormously from but we have an obligation as a people to pass it on to future generations, Mr. Starrett said. These punitive cuts put at risk, not just jobs which are critically important, but also vulnerable aspects of the nation’s unique natural and cultural heritage which now may be lost for ever to the country.

At this point, the day to day implications of the cuts are hard to fully estimate. What is clear from the Heritage Council’s standing is that we will no longer be in a position to provide support for local community groups, non-governmental organisations, charities, individuals, small businesses, local authorities and others. This will make it extremely difficult for the survival of the wider heritage profession of conservators, thatchers, ecologists, archaeologists, conservation architects, museum curators and other specialist work such as researchers and data collectors.

We cannot talk about the importance of marketing our heritage and promoting tourism if we cut the funding to those who work tirelessly behind the scenes to care for our heritage. The reality is that these unique heritage skills may now be lost to the nation along with the heritage assets and memory that these represent. We will all be poorer economically, environmentally and socially as a result‛, added Mr. Starrett.

Media Queries:
Michelle Guinan, MKC Communications 01 7038604 / 086 3846630
Isabell Smyth, Heritage Council, 0879676889

Note to editor:
·In 2009 €114,000 was offered to 19 building conservation projects. Each grant required at least as much money again to be expended on the project (50% match funding). This represents a minimum two-times multiplier for the spend from the public purse. These grants resulted in the direct employment of at least 5 people per year.
·In 2010 a total of €600,000 was spent on conservation works to significant churches and cathedrals of all denominations. This single scheme created direct employment for 16 people.
·Conservation works to our historic walled town defences (such as in Kilkenny, Cashel, Drogheda, Dublin city, Wexford) ,will be scaled back with the loss of 25 contracting and supervisory jobs.
·A cessation in grants to historic buildings and thatched houses will see this iconic vernacular architecture put at risk and the loss of highly skilled thatchers.
·The Irish Strategic Archaeological Research Programme allocated €2 million to advanced collaborative research in 2008-10. External review considered this scheme to be ‘a spectacular success and a model for other countries to follow’. This created research posts for 25 young researchers making sense of the vast amounts of archaeological information generated during the recent boom. The survival of this scheme is now questionable.

The Heritage Council is the statutory body charged with identifying, protecting, preserving and enhancing Ireland’s national heritage. National heritage includes Monuments, Archaeological objects, Heritage objects, Architectural heritage, Flora, Fauna, Wildlife habitats, Landscapes, Seascapes, Wrecks, Geology, Heritage gardens and parks, and Inland waterways.

Established under the Heritage Act 1995, and operating under the aegis of the Department of Environment, Heritage and Local Government, the Heritage Council provides advice to the Minister, and partners and networks with Local Authorities and a wide range of other organisations and individuals to promote Ireland’s heritage.

Isabell Smyth
Head of Communications & Education
The Heritage Council
Áras na hOidhreachta
Church Lane
T. + 353 (0) 56 777 0777
F + 353 (0) 56 777 0788

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Solstice Craft Fair 2010

Talks and workshops, Art/Hand Craft Stalls, & Holistic Therapies - in association with the Cruachan Crafters. Relax, de-stress, and pick up your Christmas shopping in a convenient location. Unique gifts for all the family!

Saturday 11th and Sunday 12th December, 12 to 6pm
Cruachan Ai Centre, Tulsk, Co. Roscommon
Indoor Fair, but dress for the cold!

Have you an art or craft hobby that could make you some cash? To encourage and support local enterprise, we are offering stall tables on a donation basis only - no set stall fee - just a €20 securing deposit which is refundable on the day. Ring us now to book your place on 071 9639268 or email

Tables are available (first come first served) but bring your own if you have them!

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Bats at Cruachan Aí

Environmental education and biodiversity conservation is very important to us at Cruachan Ai Heritage Centre, so we are delighted to present to you - pictures of our very own bats!

We have a colony of bats in our attic, who feed over the river and in the surrounding fields every evening. We often have to rescue the babies who get lost along the way!

Facts about Bats:
  • Bats are mammals. This means that they are covered in fur, they have warm blood, they give birth (rather than laying eggs) and they suckle their babies with milk.

  • There are over 1,000 species of bat worldwide, all in the Order Chiroptera. The greatest diversity of bat species is found in warm equatorial areas where there are fruit-, fish-, insect-, pollen- and even frog-eating types.

  • In Ireland we have nine species confirmed as residents, all of which belong to the bat Sub-order Microchiroptera. All of the Irish bat species consume only insects and the nine residents belong to two Families – the Vespertilionidae (with eight species) and the Rhinolophidae (with one species).

Suggestions for kids and parents to explore Bats further:

  1. Bat Art! Go to Bat Activities & Colouring

  2. Complete a Bat WebQuest. Adapt or follow the instructions found at - Bat Quest: In Search of Stellaluna by D. Von Feldt-Vo (Grades 2-3)

  3. Write some Bat poetry or stories. You can find some excellent writing help at Poetry Teachers and Chris Thompson's Website

  4. Build a Bat House. Bat populations are declining at an alarming level. Help preserve these important animals, enabling biodiversity conservation and environmental education by observing your own bats in their very own bat box! Start here - Build-a-Bat-Box

  5. Create a Bat Conservation Poster. Help save bats by creating an eye-catching poster that promotes the protection and better understanding of bats.

Let us know how you get on!

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Living History Club

The Living History Club has once again begun at Cruachan Aí. The second installment based around Iron Age Ireland, the Táin and Queen Maeve, got underway on Tuesday and will continue each Tuesday afternoon at four o clock. This term will culminate in our Samhain Fire Festival at Rathcroghan, where the kids will do a dramatic retelling of the Táin. The living history club is open to all children of primary school age: 5-12 and registration will be happening for the next two weeks. Price for the full term is €40.

Progress reports and pictures of how the kids are doing will follow.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Featured on RTE's Nationwide

Nationwide aired a programme entitled "Roscommon Special" on Wednesday 19th May 2010, featuring the Rathcroghan Royal Complex and Cruachan Ai Heritage Centre.

You can see it on the RTE player HERE .

Medieval Midsummer in Tulsk

The annual Cruachan School will bring Connacht’s heritage, and the valuable work of the Discovery Programme (Ireland’s Archaeological Research Institute), to life in 2010; with a Cultural Tourism event happening in Co Roscommon, “Medieval Midsummer in Tulsk”.

With a day of academic lectures presented by top experts and professionals, who will explore the Medieval history, archaeology, and heritage of Ireland, on the Saturday (19th June), and a Living History Festival to include live battle re-enactment, authentic foods, archery, costumes and medieval pottery exhibitions on the Sunday (20th June); this promises to be a fun and fact-filled weekend which the entire family can enjoy.

Special Events include showcasing the work and talents of the Rathcroghan Living History Children's Club! The epic struggle and rivalry between the Gaelic McDermott and O'Conor clans will be settled, once and for all!

See this Event on Facebook!

Discover Ireland Promotion of Medieval Midsummer in Tulsk!

Friday, March 26, 2010

Join us on Facebook!

Keep up to date with our events listings by becoming a fan on our facebook page. You will also find interesting discussions, and information about Rathcroghan, Queen Maeve, and the Medieval village of Tulsk.

Click Here!

Monday, March 8, 2010

Postal Packs Special Offers!

Just Email us on with details of:
~ Which offer you would like (Postal Pack 1, 2, or 3)
~ Your Name and Postal Address
~ Your Email Address

Postal Pack 1:
~ Rathcroghan Series Postcards, set of 7 significant and beautiful pictures printed as quality postcards
~ Heritage Guide No. 44 - Rathcroghan, Co Roscommon (where the Táin Bó Cúailnge began) (text by Prof. John Waddell)

Usual Price: €9.20
Postal Pack Offer Price: €8.50 (P&P only €1.50) ==> €10.00

Postal Pack 2:~ Rathcroghan Series Postcards, set of 7 significant and beautiful pictures printed as quality postcards
~ Heritage Guide No. 44 - Rathcroghan, Co Roscommon (where the Táin Bó Cúailnge began) (text by Prof. John Waddell)
"Rathcroghan and Carnfree, Celtic Royal Sites in Roscommon". A5 size, 40 page book by Michael Herity, beautifully illustrated with maps and photographs throughout.

Usual Price: €20.90
Postal Pack Offer Price: €17.50 (P&P only €2.50) ==> €20.00

Postal Pack 3:
~ Rathcroghan Series Postcards, set of 7 significant and beautiful pictures printed as quality postcards
~ Heritage Guide No. 44 - Rathcroghan, Co Roscommon (where the Táin Bó Cúailnge began) (text by Prof. John Waddell)
~ "Rathcroghan: Archaeological and Geophysical survey in a Ritual Landscape". Large, Hardback book by Prof. John Waddell, Joseph Fenwick, and Kevin Barton, released June 2009 - beautifully illustrated with maps and photographs throughout.

Usual Price: €54.20
Postal Pack Offer Price: €50.50 (P&P €9.50) ==> €60.00

(Postal Pack options available at these prices within Ireland only. International postage will incur reasonable extra costs!)