Enjoy heritage

THE Heritage Office in Laois County Council will be hosting a conference entitled ‘Celebrating Laois Heritage’ in the Abbeyleix Manor Hotel on Saturday November 10.

THE Heritage Office in Laois County Council will be hosting a conference entitled ‘Celebrating Laois Heritage’ in the Abbeyleix Manor Hotel on Saturday November 10.

The conference which is supported by the Heritage Council, aims to bring together all those with an interest in the heritage of Laois, to explore and celebrate the rich wealth of built, natural and cultural heritage of the county.

The day will start with two talks on aspects of caring for historic buildings and sites. Richard McLoughlin of Lotts Architecture will talk on conservation reports, what they are, why they are useful and how to write them. Richard is a conservation architect whose family are from Laois. He has recently worked on a Conservation Report for the Market Shelter in Stradbally.

Following Richard’s talk, Jacqui Donnelly of the Department of Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht will talk about energy conservation in historic buildings. Everyone is interested these days in how to save energy in our homes, and Jacqui will explore some of the special challenges faced by owners of historic buildings, and how to deal with these.

Jacqui has been involved with the publication by the Department, of a series of books on building conservation, including a volume on energy efficiency, so she is ideally placed to discuss the practicalities of this wide topic.

Caimin O’ Brien from the National Monuments Service with the Department of Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht will be speaking on the graveyards of Laois, and Anna Meehan from the Heritage Council will discuss the conservation of traditional farm buildings. Michael Parsons, president of Laois Heritage Society and member of the Heritage Council will also speak.

Anne Goodwin, chief executive of Laois Partnership Company, will describe the range of heritage projects currently being undertaken and funded by the partnership company, bringing much-needed funds into Laois. She will also describe ways in which communities or individuals with an interest in heritage can access this funding.

Catherine Casey, heritage officer with Laois County Council, said “This conference is a great opportunity for the people of Laois to come together and learn more about the county’s heritage, to share views, and to discuss issues with a range of heritage practitioners”.

Henry Healy will describe the ‘Ireland Reaching Out’ programme, which trains communities to use reverse genealogy, to track down the Irish Diaspora abroad, and invite them back to visit their ancestral homes – this programme will be of great relevance to anyone with an interest in both Genealogy and Tourism, particularly with the Gathering coming up in 2013.

This is just a taste of the range of talks on the day. There is no charge for the conference, but places will be limited. Those interested are advised to book early, to avoid disappointment. Further information is available from Catherine Casey. Contact 057 86 64129, email ccasey@laoiscoco.ie or visit www.laois.ie.