The Westmeath Heritage Plan for 2018-2023 has been approved by the county council. The 32-page plan was put before the councillors at their monthly meeting by Melanie McQuade, heritage officer. It is the culmination of weeks of public consultations and public meetings around the county.
The plan was warmly welcomed by the councillors and many tributes were paid to Ms McQuade for her tireless work in the interest of preserving the heritage of Westmeath.
It’s approval comes as National Heritage Week (August 18–26) approaches with a host of activities planned for venues around the county.
In Athlone there will be a series of events at the Castle and the Gun Battery as well as the Library. At McCormack’s Square there will be the ‘Big Dig’, where children are invited to go along to try being an archaeologist.
There will be a walking tour of Historic Ballymore with local historian Darach Milner and a tour of the recently restored Beehive Mausoleum erected in honour of the fascinating Adolphus Cooke at Reynella, Mullingar.
There will be guided walks and talks at Belvedere House and Gardens while in Castletown Geoghegan, archaeologist Caimin O’Brien will take visitors around the historic hot-spots of this medieval village. In Castlepollard the North Westmeath Historical Society will give a talk on Castlepollard and the Great War while other activities are planned for the local library.
In Coole, Aidan Walsh will lead a tour of Mayne Bronze Age Road, Newcastle Town House and Coolure Crannog on Lough Derravaragh. A Nocturnal Wildlife Walk at Coolure Demesne will be led by NPWS Ranger, Triona Finnen.
A talk on Westmeath Field Names will be given by Aengus Finnegan at Clonkill GAA Clubhouse along with an exhibition of field names recorded locally.
In Moate, at the Dun na Si Heritage and Amenity Park, Geologist, Robbie Meehan will explore the unique geological aspects of the area while at the local library there will be a specially compiled book and exhibition based on interviews with people born in the area before 1953.
In Enniscoffey, Kevin Whelehan will give a history of the area and a tour of the graveyard while Kilbixy Church and Leper Hospital will also host events.
Several activities are planned for historic Fore Abbey, the Men’s Shed Museum, Caraiosa Centre near Moate and in nearby Mount Temple.
Mullingar Library also has a Sharing Memories and Stories Exhibition. There will be walking tours of the town taking in the railway station, the cathedral and old Mullingar. There will be a Picnic in the Park and the ‘Big Dig’ in the Town Park.
All Saints Church, Mullingar, is hosting a civic service while the Free Grace Evangelical Church is hosting an Irish and International Heritages event.
There will be a tour of Tullynally Castle with Bartle D’Arcy and in Tyrrellspass, archaeologist Paul Stevens will give a lecture on the excavation of the early Christian monastic site at Clonfad and there will be a field trip to Durrow Abbey, Leamonaghan Monastic site and St Manchan’s Shrine.
There will be tours of the Hill of Uisneach and a tour and lecture on the Ringforts of Uisneach.