Headford Lace Project celebrated in book on heritage preservation

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Kathleen McMahon and Ester Kiely, Headford Lace Project with representatives of the local heritage projects, ICOMOS Ireland and the NMI - Country Life.

The invaluable work Mayo and Galway organisations are doing to research, revive and archive native craft heritage, enhance tourism and celebrate culture and identity is celebrated in a new book, copies of which are now available for free.

The positive impact the Great Western Greenway and Headford Lace Project are having is celebrated in a new Other Stories, Cultural Heritage & Society book officially launched at the Mayo Country Life Museum in recent days.

The community-based Headford Lace Project has done Trojan work to research, revive and reimagine local lacemaking heritage which has its roots in Headford in circa 1766. 

The impact of Ireland’s first ever greenway, the Great Western Greenway, is also celebrated in the beautifully crafted book launched in the presence of the local groups and representatives of International Council on Monuments & Sites (ICOMOS) Ireland and more.

ICOMOS Ireland funded the free book which showcases the work and importance of 15 culture, heritage and society projects on the island of Ireland and gives a voice to those involved in the form of personal reflections.

Oein de Bhaidúin, National Museum of Ireland, contributed to the event and welcomed everyone to the event.

Speaking at the in-person launch, ICOMOS Ireland Vice Chair, Paul McMahon, said: “The Faro Convention emphasises the important aspects of heritage as they relate to human rights and democracy. It promotes a wider understanding of heritage and its relationship to communities and society.

Paul McMahon, vice chairperson, ICOMOS Ireland

“The Convention encourages us to recognise that objects and places are not, in themselves, what is important about cultural heritage. 

“They are important because of the meanings and uses that people attach to them and the values they represent.”

Kathleen McMahon of the Headford Lace Project said that the publication and book tour events are important. 

“We are what we come from and if we don’t stand up to preserve our heritage it will be lost and then we lose part of ourselves. It is also important to remember the people that have gone before us.”

Other Stories was launched at an online event by Heritage and Electoral Reform Minister, Malcolm Noonan, T.D., as part of the ICOMOS Ireland annual Maura Shaffrey Lecture during the pandemic. 

ICOMOS Ireland undertook the research and advocacy project to highlight the spirit and principles of  the Faro Convention as expressed in an Irish context.

Minister Malcolm Noonan said: “This is a wonderful culmination of a lot of collaborative effort and brings together many projects based on our common heritage and cultural values.”

“In it are many stories of various projects around our country that bring about a whole new understanding of the cultural values that are really important to us.”

The specially selected projects include in the book are X-PO, 14 Henrietta Street, The Bridge Street Project, Kilmuckridge Song Project, Diamond War Memorial, Foyle Punt, Meitheal Mara, Battles, Bricks and Bridges, Headford Lace Project, Great Western Greenway, Irish Seed Savers, Thomastown Community River Trust, Bi Urban, Migrant Women: Shared Experiences, Missling on the Tobar.