Heritage News & Events 10.1.22

Decade of Centenaries: What happened in 2021 and what’s planned for 2022
Kilkenny County Council has received an allocation of €50,000 for the Decade of Centenaries Programme 2022, from the Department of Tourism, Culture, Arts, Gaeltacht, Sport and Media. The Heritage Office will be inviting applications to a grant scheme for this programme in January. To find out about the 13 projects funded in 2021 (commemorations, films, podcasts, radio programmes, drama, commemorative garden, archives, lectures, and brochures) see https://kilkennyheritage.ie/2022/01/kilkenny-county-council-decade-of-centenaries-programme-2021-3/

Black Friars Arch
“The Walled Town Crier” December issue contains an article on the Black Friars Arch repairs carried out in 2021. To read this article go to  https://irishwalledtownsnetwork.ie/wp-content/uploads/2021/12/IWTN-The-Walled-Town-Crier_December_2021-1.pdf

A snapshot of local authority actions to help pollinators in 2021
The breadth of work that Local Authorities across Ireland have undertaken in 2021 to help pollinators and support the All-Ireland Pollinator Plan is contained in a recent report by the National Biodiversity Date Centre. It gives a snapshot of 5 actions carried out by each local authority, including Kilkenny County Council, and enables knowledge exchange between Councils.  https://pollinators.ie/wp-content/uploads/2021/12/All-Ireland-Pollinator-Plan-2021_Councils-Partners-Annual-Review.pdf

World Wetlands Day 2022
World Wetlands Day is on Wed 2nd Feb 2022. Why not organise an event (subject to COVID) or a project about wetlands in your area?  Register your project with the hundreds of others taking place around the world. “A call to take action” is the focus of this years’ campaign – an appeal to invest financial, human and political capital to save the world’s wetlands from disappearing and to restore those we have damaged.  Projects can take place on 2nd Feb, or the weekend before/after. Details at https://www.worldwetlandsday.org/

Photo courtesy of Catherine Casey

199 Swift nest sites found in Kilkenny
An audit of swifts commissioned by the Heritage Office in 2021 identified 199 swift nest sites in 51 buildings across 13 towns in the county. The survey findings and recommendations will be shared with the Planning Dept and relevant property owners, in order to help protect this bird whose numbers are in sharp decline globally. A number of swift boxes will also be installed in 2022. The audit was undertaken by Birdwatch Ireland, with the help of the public and local volunteers and was co-funded by co-funded by NPWS under the National Biodiversity Action Plan.

30 wetlands surveyed
30 wetland sites throughout Kilkenny were surveyed in 2021, including bogs, wet woodland, lakes and wet grassland. The survey assessed the conservation value, threats, damage, and management of the sites. This is phase 2 of a county wetland audit which commenced in 2020, and identified approx. 250 areas of wetland in the county. The conservation of wetlands is vital to meet our biodiversity and climate action commitments. The findings and recommendations will be shared with the Planning Dept, and will inform future biodiversity and climate action. The project was commissioned by the Heritage Office, undertaken by Wetland Surveys Ireland, and co-funded by the Heritage Council.

Markievicz Award 2022 applications now open
Minister Martin recently announced the opening of the Decade of Centenaries Markievicz Award Bursary scheme 2022 for artists and will be via the Arts Council’s website. 10 bursaries will be awarded to either individual artists or to collaborative artists up to the value of €25,000 each.   Closing date for receipt of applications is 5.30pm Thursday 10th February 2022.    Further details/bursary criteria available at  https://www.artscouncil.ie/Funds/Markievicz-Award/

Barn Owl in Ash Tree (photo courtesy of Mike Brown)

Barn Owl in Ash Tree (photo courtesy of Mike Brown)

Barn Owls faring well in Kilkenny
A county wide survey of barn owls commissioned by the Heritage Office in 2021 shows the first evidence of Barn Owl population increases in the county in the last fifty years. Barn Owls (a protected species of high conservation concern) were recorded in 68% of the 10km squares in the county, and their geographic distribution has increased significantly (666%) in Kilkenny over the past ten years. The project included a successful awareness campaign and citizen science element managed by the heritage office, e.g. of the 26 nest sites identified, 12 were reported to the project by the public. The audit was undertaken by Birdwatch Ireland, and co-funded by NPWS under the National Biodiversity Action Plan. The findings and recommendations of the report will help inform policies and actions for the long-term survival of these threatened birds, and will be shared with the Planning Dept and other agencies.

Farming for Nature Ambassador Awards nominations now open
Do you know of a farmer who is producing great food while maintaining a flourishing farm environment?   You can now submit nominations for the 2022 National Farming for Nature Ambassador Awards. Closing date for nominations is 14th February 2022. Further details/nominations at https://www.farmingfornature.ie/