After years of dedicated work by countless individuals in the community and beyond, the Athenry Walled Towns Project won Best Heritage Project in Ireland.
The Athenry Walled Towns Project is colossal project involving the conservation, management, and interpretation of one of the best preserved medieval town walls in Ireland.
Over the past twelve years groups including Athenry Heritage Centre, the county council, the Walled Towns Network and many more, have worked together with the wider community to bring national recognition to this important piece of history.
Their work was recognised this week when Athenry won Best Heritage Project at the All Ireland Community and Council Awards.
The All Ireland Community and Council Awards presented by IPB Insurance and LAMA are about recognising where communities and their councils have worked together to bring national recognition to local projects.
Alan Burgess, the manager of Athenry Heritage Centre said “The award recognises the conservation work by Galway County Council since 2008 and acknowledges the projects engagement with the community in education programmes and Athenry’s Walled Towns Day.”
The town walls of Athenry date back to the 14th century, and remain one of the best preserved examples of medieval walls in Ireland, making them of extraordinary historical and archaeological interest.
The town retains almost 1.5 kilometres of the original wall that once ran for two and half kilometres, and the defensive towers that dotted its length and still some of Athenry’s most important landmarks.
Over the years work at conserving and restoring the walls has progressed through “small-scale but strategic projects”
Every year Athenry celebrates its heritage with the Walled Towns Day where visitors can get guided tours of the walls, along with recreations of a medieval blacksmith, armoury, and dungeon.
County councillor Peter Feeney of Athenry Town Walls Committee said “I am delighted that Athenry Town Walls Project has won this significant award and I would like to thank all those who have worked diligently with us over the past twelve years.”
“In particular the property owners, Athenry Heritage Centre, the Athenry Area Office Staff of Galway County Council, the local schools, Kenny Park, Athenry Community Council, Athenry Tidy Towns and all the people and organisations of Athenry.”