Minister for Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht, Josepha Madigan TD, speaking at the launch of Ireland’s National Inventory of Intangible Cultural Heritage

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A chairde go léir,

Tá an-áthas orm bheith anseo inniu le haghaidh lainseáil an Fardal Náisiúnta na hOidhreachta Cultúrtha Doláimhsithe na hÉireann.

We are here today to launch Ireland’s National Inventory of Intangible Cultural Heritage and to recognise and celebrate Ireland’s living cultural heritage.

No celebration would be complete without music and we’re very lucky to be joined by Comhaltas Ceoltóirí Eireann musicians who’ll be playing for us shortly. Could it be a sign that Irish Traditional Music has made out list? All will be revealed shortly.

Since Ireland ratified the UNESCO Convention for the Safeguarding of the Intangible Cultural Heritage, we have been developing a National Inventory for Ireland. We want to recognise, protect and promote our living cultural heritage and work with communities around Ireland to achieve this.

Inscription on the UNESCO list is an amazing achievement. The addition of uilleann piping and hurling last year was a source of huge pride for our country.

Of equal importance is our National Inventory. I’m delighted to say that our open call received a huge response. It showed just how rich and diverse our county’s heritage is.

We have selected 30 cultural heritage practices for the National Inventory. They come from right across Ireland and reflect all parts of Ireland.

I would like to thank the Expert Advisory Committee. They gave unselfishly of their time and considerable expertise to ensure our cultural heritage is recognised respectfully and appropriately.

Given the level of response to the open call, the process will remain open and applications for inclusion in the National Inventory will continue to be accepted.

When I considered the recommendations for inscription on the National Inventory, I was struck by the variety of living heritage practices on the list. There are traditions like Irish traditional music, which is spread in a network throughout Ireland and the world. There are elements of our sea and inland maritime cultural heritage. Then there are specific traditions such as the craftsmanship of traveller tinsmithing and others such as lace, crochet and embroidery making, which is specialised on a regional basis.

We are also recognising traditional and environmentally sustainable farming practices, as well as elements of animal husbandry and falconry. Some of the local practices that are confined to a geographic area will remain only associated with that area such as the practices around the Holy Wells of Clare.

Inclusion on the National Inventory will ensure national recognition and I hope will raise curiosity and ignite an interest to visit and experience these traditions.

These practices are what give us both our sense of identity and belonging. They demonstrate the rich diversity and strong cultural interest that makes Ireland unique.

Our cultural heritage is nothing without those who practice it and live it. It is my privilege as Minister for Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht to recognise you as bearers and practitioners of that heritage.

None of this would be possible without committed practitioners like you. Your involvement in your communities’ cultural heritage has sustained it for generations.

I’ll now announce each of the customs, practices and traditions that have been inscribed on Ireland’s National Inventory of Intangible Cultural Heritage:

  • Uilleann Piping
  • Hurling
  • Cruitireacht na hÉireann / Irish Harping
  • Winterage in the Burren
  • Limerick Lace
  • Turas Cholm Cille
  • Snap Net Fishing
  • Irish Crochet Lace
  • Cobh Carillon Playing
  • Native Irish Pedigree Dog Breeds
  • Art and Practice of Falconry
  • St Moling’s Pilgrim’s Route
  • Mountmellick Embroidery
  • Cant / Gammon, the traditional language spoken by Irish Travellers
  • Traveller Tinsmithing
  • Sea Currach Building
  • Mummers of Fingal
  • Basketmaking
  • Letterpress Printing in Ireland
  • Floating Heritage
  • Carrickmacross Lace Making
  • Marcanna na Talamh
  • Dry Stone Construction
  • Irish Traditional Music
  • Traditional Farming and Sheepdog Training
  • Irish Draught Horse Breeding
  • Boyne Currach Making
  • Loy Digging
  • Holy Wells in County Clare
  • Mid Kerry Biddy

Congratulations to each and every one of you.

Today is not the end of the journey, however, but a new beginning as this recognition is also a commitment from my Department that we will work with you and your communities to protect and promote our living cultural heritage for the enjoyment of this and future generations.

Our traditions reflect us all and we must treasure them. I wish now to introduce you to two other cultural practices – firstly the Fingal Mummers, who will share their tradition with us. They will be followed by traditional Irish musicians from Comhaltas Ceoltóirí Éireann.

Department of Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht, 23 Kildare Street, Dublin , D02 TD30. Tel: 01 631 3800 / LoCall: 1890 383 000

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