Putting heritage to work for communities – Kilkenny

We were back in Kilkenny last week, looking at more communities who we might work with on the Kilkenny LEADER Partnership’s Community Heritage and Cultural Interpretation Mentoring project.

Getting to know the rural Kilkenny and its heritage is fascinating and rewarding. Near Gowran

The project is developing nicely.  We held a lively Launch Meeting for community representatives at The Heritage Council’s headquarters to explain the project and what it offers. Hopefully by this time next week we will know who we are working with.

Then we were were hosted at another three towns – all of them brilliant, all of them different. At all of them we asked for an introduction to what makes the town special, what makes it tick. At all of them people showed us things  that explained how their town had come to be what it is now, and that made it different and distinctive from the others.

Faces of miners in the ex-mining community of Castlecomer.

Interestingly, many of our hosts had lived  in the town all their lives, so had a deep connection with the place.  We heard their stories and  began to think about whether  and how they could be shared and who with.

Unlike many other local water sources, this well supplied the people of Piltdown with good drinking water. The story is that the women who drank it became pregnant …

There is another story of a Black Lady – who was almost certainly an early landscape photographer.

And a story of the young landowner who returned (eventually) from war to find he was presumed dead and his memorial tower was under construction.

We asked questions about the communities and how they work now. Who lives there? What do they need? Questions like this will become more important as the work develops.

Local food is an important part of the economy and culture …

… I made a point of contributing to the local economy – in a very tasty way.

This is a process of listening.  Of accepting that we do not yet know any of the answers.  In fact, so far we only have initial ideas of the questions.  In some of the towns we think we can see specific opportunities for heritage-based projects that will deliver community benefit.  But we are still waiting to hear which, if any, of these opportunities, or other ones the communities will choose to tackle.

This is hugely exciting.  For us there can be no wrong answers.  All of these towns are attractive and interesting.  We are excited that we will we will be working closely with some of them, learning more about them and the people who live there.  This is, to quote Danny Boyle, ‘a wonderful job’.

Here, I am working very hard to understand the significance of horse-racing. Wonderful work, indeed.

About susancrosstelltale

Great visits to heritage and natural sites do not happen by accident. This blog is about the work that make special sites great places to visit. I hope it will be useful to visitors and host alike. Find out more at me and my blog.
This entry was posted in Good places to visit, Interpretation, Ireland, Mentoring, Stories, Visitors and tagged , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s