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Minister Madigan Announces State Recognition of Key Elements of Ireland’s Living Cultural Heritage

Minister for Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht Josepha Madigan TD today launched the permanent National Inventory of Intangible Cultural Heritage, celebrating living cultural heritage practices in Ireland. This measure represents official State recognition of cultural practices all around Ireland and will serve to protect and promote these practices for generations to come.

30 elements of living Irish culture were given official recognition at the event which took place at Waterways Ireland. Some of the traditions included are water based such as Boyne Currach Making, traditional sea currach making, Floating Heritage, encompassing aspects of navigation on Ireland’s inland waterways, Snap Net Fishing and a heritage barge played a central role in the occasion.

Others practices being recognised which presented at the event were Irish traditional musicians and Mummers of Fingal.  Some of the customs and traditions have a national reach such as the practices of breeding, showing and working with Native Irish Pedigree Dog Breeds while others are specific to regions such as tradition of carillon (bellringing percussion organ) in Cobh, County Cork.  Carrickmacross  and Limerick lacemaking and the practices at Holy Wells in County Clare.

The Minister said:

‘It is wonderful to see such a variety of customs and traditions from all over the country being acknowledged here today. Each of these threads in the cultural tapestry of our lives makes us richer as individuals and as a country. None of this would be possible without the work of committed volunteers all around the country, whose involvement in their communities’ cultural practices and heritage traditions have sustained them over the generations.  I am delighted to honour those customs, practices and traditions through official State recognition on the National Inventory.

  1. , Manager, Burren Programme in in relation to Winterage in the Burren region said

“This is a welcome acknowledgement of the importance of the farming community and their traditions in a landscape renowned for its geology, archaeology and ecology. It’s a lovely way to honour the past generations of farmers who devised these innovative practices in response to the constraints imposed by the Burren’s rocky terrain, while it’s also an encouraging message to current and future generations of farmers that we, as a society, value and appreciate them and their unique traditions which sustain this magnificent landscape”.

The development of the National Inventory of Ireland’s Intangible Cultural Heritage is an integral part of the Department of Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht’s work under the 2003 UNESCO Convention for the Safeguarding of the Intangible Cultural Heritage which requires signatory States to recognise, protect and promote the living cultural heritage of their countries.

Ireland has succeeded in having uilleann piping and hurling inscribed on the UNESCO Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage and a formal application from Ireland to have harping inscribed on the UNESCO list will be considered at the end of  this year.

The elements of Ireland’s cultural heritage practices included in Ireland’s National Inventory were received through an open call process and were assessed by an expert advisory committee. To ensure a comprehensive National Inventory is achieved, expressions of interest will continue to be accepted on a rolling basis: Interested parties can contact the Department at for more information.


Notes to Editors

The full list is provided below.

-              Uilleann Piping

-              Hurling

-              Cruitireacht na hÉireann / Irish Harping

-              Winterage in the Burren

-              Limerick Lace

-              Turas Cholm Cille

-              Snap Net Fishing

-              Irish Crochet Lace

-              Cobh Carillon Playing

-              Native Irish Pedigree Dog Breeds

-              Art and Practice of Falconry

-              St Moling’s Pilgrim’s Route

-              Mountmellick Embroidery

-              Cant / Gammon, the traditional language spoken by Irish Travellers

-              Traveller Tinsmithing

-              Sea Currach Making

-              Mummers of Fingal

-              Basketmaking

-              Letterpress Printing in Ireland

-              Floating Heritage

-              Carrickmacross Lace Making

-              Marcanna na Talaimh

-              Dry Stone Construction

-              Irish Traditional Music

-              Traditional Farming and Sheepdog Training

-              Irish Draught Horse Breeding

-              Boyne Currach Making

-              Loy Digging

-              Holy Wells in County Clare

-              Mid Kerry Biddy