by mariocorrigan on August 15, 2006

Signal Towers, National Heritage Week and More!

Liam Kenny

We Kildare historians sometimes miss out on the maritime aspects of Ireland’s tapestry of local history but any of you heading for the coast this month might like to keep an eye for the following. Many of our headlands have signal towers built just on 200 years ago (1804-06) to warn of a potential Napoleonic invasion. The enterprising folk in Beara tourism hit on the idea of getting local communities to stage a bonfire event at their local tower. Since mid July towers have been lit around the coast in a relay type arrangment. On the afternoon of 20 August it is hoped that all or most of these towers will again host a bonfire or similar event, marking the 200th anniversary of their commissioning. If you are heading for the coast — or even if you are not — there is a very informative website at which gives much information on what is happening and some history of these forgotten coastal sentinels.
Just an advance ‘heads up’ re Heritage week 2006. There is a very good website put up by the Heritage Council, namely where the full listing is searchable by county. It is encouraging to see that there are new and novel events and locations featuring this year with Dublin city and county having a particularly interesting availability. There are a number of 1916-themed walks in the city while the OPW are also offering some interesting tours. For example the Magazine Fort in the Phoenix Park which has never been open before but which made headlines in 1916 and again in 1940 features on one walk. Also the underwritten Richmond Barracks in Inchicore is the topic of a talk in Kilmainham. A tour of residences in Merrion Square has attractions as does a free trip on the Dublin Docklands new cruise boat viewing the city from a riverborne context. And if all that is too serious on the history agenda, out in Dun Laoghaire-Rathdown there is a talk on the history of HB icecream — a product which probably had a greater impact in Irish social history than all of the rebellions, wars and emergencies put together!
PS1: for the first time in a long time the Naas Local History Group has made it on tothe Heritage Week programme with a dramatised reading of the story of the county town in the atmospheric surrounds of Naas Town Hall at 8pm on 31 August.
PS2: a special mention for Nick Coy’s heritage week walk at the Avoca mines, Nick has been running this since the very first heritage week many years ago.

Liam Kenny explores some of the up and coming events which should be of interest to anyone with an interest in heritage and local history.

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