Home » News » Clarecastle & Ballyea Heritage and Wildlife Group group named ‘Heritage Heroes’
Members of with Clarecastle and Ballyea Heritage and Wildlife Group, which received the Clare County Heritage Week Award 2020 for its project, “Clarecastle on film in the 1950s” (l-r): John Power, Jean Ryan, Eric Shaw, Frank Barry, Catherine O’Connor and Christy Leyden.

Clarecastle & Ballyea Heritage and Wildlife Group group named ‘Heritage Heroes’

CLARECASTLE and Ballyea Heritage and Wildlife Group were named among the country’s Heritage Heroes this week. The local group were named the first ever winners in the County Clare category at the National Heritage Week Awards 2020 for their project, “Clarecastle on film in the 1950s.”
Eric Shaw of the Clarecastle and Ballyea Heritage and Wildlife Group explains, “The film had been recovered from reels of old cine-film taken by Anthony Considine with wonderful scenes of Old Clarecastle, fancy-dress parades at Regattas and of ships being unloaded at Clarecastle Quay. The film brought back memories of those days.  Covid-19 put paid to a lot of our plans for Heritage Week 2020 but we were determined to mark the occasion as we have done over the past eight years. The finding of that wonderful old film on Clarecastle helped us to put it forward as a project to the Heritage Council and we launched it during Heritage Week. It was very well received and even made it on to the main RTÉ 1 evening news.  Today, being the first ever winners in a new county atcegory is just wonderful and we are delighted and also very grateful to the Considine family who allowed us access to the old cine-films. 
Other projects from County Clare also received recognition at the awards as runners-up in two categories.
Labasheeda Projects Group was named as a runner-up in the ‘Heritage of Education Award’ category for the project, ‘Labasheeda Ar Scoil – An Educational Journey.’ This project told the story of education in the Labasheeda area throughout the ages from describing how locals overcame many challenges during the penal days right up until the present day, with the opening of a new school in 1975.
Shannon Town Community Wetlands was a runner-up in the ‘Water Heritage Award’ category for the ‘Shannon Town Community Wetlands Project’, a community initiative to develop an attractive amenity within the town that promotes biodiversity and enhances the community value of the site, while making it user-friendly and accessible.
The National Heritage Awards recognise the efforts of individuals, families and community groups across Ireland to ensure the preservation, protection and promotion of Ireland’s built, natural and cultural heritage. Hosted by the Heritage Council, the awards event took place virtually and was presented by RTÉ broadcaster, Anne Cassin.
To take account of restrictions on gatherings due to Covid-19, rather than focusing on the organisation of in-person events this year, more than 770 heritage groups and enthusiasts developed projects around this year’s theme of ‘Heritage and Education: Learning from our Heritage’. Comprising online talks and exhibitions, videos, podcasts, slideshow presentations, blogs, websites, social media accounts, as well as small, restricted social gatherings, more than 850 projects were submitted. Each one was considered for a National Heritage Week Award.
Cathaoirleach of Clare County Council, Councillor Mary Howard, said, “I would like to extend a huge thank you to all the project organisers, event organisers, supporters and members of the public who adapted and took part in National Heritage Week this year, in Clare in particular. I am delighted to see that a number of Clare-based projects were featured. Congratulations to Clarecastle Ballyea Heritage and Wildlife Group on receiving the Clare County Heritage Week Award 2020, and to both Labasheeda Projects Group and Shannon Town Community Wetlands for the recognition given to their projects.”
The National Heritage Week Awards were expanded this year to include an award for the best project in each county across the island, won by the Clarecastle project.
Congella McGuire, Heritage Officer, Clare County Council, said, “Clarecastle Ballyea Heritage and Wildlife Group has made a tremendous contribution to the development and promotion of heritage in County Clare. Every year the group holds informed, entertaining and varied calendars of events for National Heritage Week.
“The group has made a significant contribution to Clare’s heritage and wildlife recording and has made available a wealth of information on local heritage and wildlife through its publications, talks and walks, while always involving and informing the local schools in its heritage undertakings.”
“Clarecastle on film in the 1950s” is available to view at:  https://www.heritageweek.ie/projects/clarecastle-on-film-in-the-1950s

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