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National Heritage Award for Donegal Heritage Project


National Heritage Award for Donegal Heritage Project

Michael Starrett, Chief Executive of The Heritage Council, William

McElhinney of Wild Strands (winner of the ‘Heritage Communities’

Award) and Michael Parsons, Chairperson of The Heritage Council

pictured at The Heritage Council’s National Heritage Awards in

the Medieval Mile Museum, Kilkenny on Thursday, April 12.



A National Heritage Week event organised by Wild Strands in conjunction with the Men’s Shed in Moville in 2017 won the ‘Heritage Communities’ Award at the National Heritage Awards in Kilkenny on Thursday, April 12.  This award recognises event organisers who brought their community together to celebrate their heritage during National Heritage Week.  There were three other projects shortlisted nationwide from counties Cavan, Clare and Cork.



‘The Foyle: Tales of Salmon Fishing’ event, organised by William McElhinney, Wild Strands in conjunction with the Men’s Shed in Moville, celebrated and documented the rich maritime heritage of local fishermen who fished wild salmon on the River Foyle.  The organisers recognised the urgent need to create an event so that the wealth of this local tradition could be recorded.  They brought men together to share and record their knowledge.  The group also has more plans to record, preserve and pass on the knowledge of the fishermen before it’s lost.



 “The National Heritage Awards recognise the interest, commitment and enthusiasm that local people and heritage groups have for their heritage” said Joseph Gallagher, County Donegal Heritage Officer.  “About 2,000 events take place nationwide every year for National Heritage Week and there were 122 entries for the National Heritage Awards this year and 170 nominations for the ‘Heritage Hero’ Award.  Credit must go to the many heritage groups like Wild Strands and the Men’s Shed in Moville who organise events, often on a voluntary basis, to highlight and promote our heritage.  It’s great that another County Donegal-based heritage organisation has scooped one of the national awards this year following the Tor Mór Cultural Tourism Committee’s success in 2014 and the West Inishowen History & Heritage Society’s success in 2015.”



Other winners at this year’s National Heritage Awards included Sharon Slater from Limerick who won the ‘Heritage Hero’ Award, BirdWatch Ireland from County Galway who won the ‘Cool for Kids’ Award and Irish Seed Savers from County Clare who won the ‘Hidden Heritage’ Award.  National Heritage Week 2018 takes place from Saturday, August 18 to Sunday, August 26.  This year’s theme is ‘Make a Connection’ which aims to deepen the connection between people and heritage, and build a legacy of increased public engagement.  Further details are available at:

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