Coordinated by the Heritage Council since 2005, National Heritage Week has become Ireland’s largest cultural event. This year’s programme will run until Sunday, August 23 and is a largely online affair, because of restrictions on in-person events and gatherings due to COVID-19. Projects have been developed around three themes: heritage and education; and relearning skills from our heritage.
Some initiatives worth checking are those at the National Gallery of Ireland.
Follow the Gallery online, where in addition to a self-guided art tour offering insight into Irish history in paintings, visitors can discover stories exploring nature, sketchbooks, and items related to George Bernard Shaw, above.
There’s also a live-streamed online talk Conservation in the Gallery’s Archives which takes place on Instagram Live, tomorrow Thursday, August 20, from 3pm – 3.15pm. Paper conservator Mathilde Renauld will explore the conservation of archival materials using examples from the Gallery’s archives, including work by artists Bea Orpen and William Orpen.
On Friday August 21 from 1pm – 3pm, visitors are invited to take a look at Conservation in Action by glimpsing the conservation team in action working on Lavinia Fontana’s large painting “The Visit of the Queen of Sheba to King Solomon”. This is a rare opportunity to see behind-the-scenes, and to build an understanding of the importance of conservation and preservation for the Gallery’s collection. Admission is free, but pre-booking is essential, email [email protected].
At St Patrick’s Cathedral a series of events invite visitors to engage with the biggest restoration project in Ireland at the moment – the restoration of the roof, and four short videos exploring the project will be released tomorrow, Thursday August 20 at 4.30pm. These videos include drone footage and interviews with the craftspeople involved, giving an incredible insight into this massive project.
At the Pearse Museum at St Enda’s, Rathfarnham, there is an illustrated talk on Patrick Pearse and the story of Scoil Eanna – the innovative school Padraig Pearse founded and ran between 1908 – 1916. A specially commissioned video for Heritage Week explores how Kilmainham Gaol and the Pearse Museum are connected with three of Thomas Moore’s famous Irish melodies. His song, The Origin of the Harp was inspired by a visit Moor paid to Kilmainham Gaol to visit his friend, the United Irishman Edward Hudson, in 1798. Another of his melodies, Oh breathe not his name was inspired by another Kilmainham Gaol prisoner, Robert Emmet. He also immortalised the story of Emmet’s doomed love affair with Sarah Curran in She is far from the land. The video features performances of all three songs by sisters Teresa and Mary Louise O’Donnell in the surroundings of Kilmainham Gaol and the Pearse Museum. It will be made available via the Facebook pages of the Pearse Museum and Kilmainham Gaol, and on the OPW YouTube channel, on Thursday, 20 August at 6pm.
For more information on National Heritage Week projects and online events, visit www.heritageweek.ie.
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