Launch of national pilot programme ‘Heritage Keepers’ | Heritage in Schools

Launch of national pilot programme ‘Heritage Keepers’

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On Monday 15th November, Minister of State at the Department of Housing, Local Government and Heritage, Malcolm Noonan, joined Virginia Teehan, Chief Executive of The Heritage Council, Maria Walsh, Heritage in Schools Programme Manager and Mary Dillon, Community Programmes Manager with Burrenbeo Trust to launch ‘Heritage Keepers’, a new pilot national Place Based Learning and Stewardship initiative.

Heritage Keepers is a free programme for schools and communities that will enable them to work together to explore the built, natural, and cultural heritage of their local place and then plan an action or actions to enhance their place. The Heritage Keepers programme will initially be offered to a limited number of schools and communities nationwide through a series of five 2-hour workshops. In-person, online and blended learning options will be made available and there are also plans to offer teachers and community facilitators the chance to become ‘Heritage Keepers’ trainers.

Minister Noonan noted: "This project recognises the importance of empowering people to explore and discover their local heritage. Our experiences over the last eighteen months have shown the vital role that the heritage in our local areas can play in supporting and enhancing the well-being of people and communities and it is vital that we continue to promote this as we look towards what our lives will be like post COVID-19. Local heritage is a key focus for both the Heritage Council and my own Department as evidenced by the many projects and events we’ve run under this theme over the last year and a half and I look forward to seeing many more wonderful projects such as the Heritage Keepers programme in the future."

“Burrenbeo Trust has been working in place-based learning and community stewardship for over 10 years with schools and communities in the Burren. We are delighted that we now can share our learnings with communities across Ireland. Given the urgency of the climate crisis, biodiversity loss and community fragmentation, programmes such as Heritage Keepers are more important than ever. People connecting to their place is wholly beneficial to any community, fostering a sense of pride, ownership and ultimately responsibility towards both their community and environment.” said Mary Dillon, Community Programmes Manager with Burrenbeo Trust.

Virginia Teehan, Chief Executive of the Heritage Council added: “The Heritage Council is delighted to be involved in this exciting initiative with Burrenbeo Trust. Participating schools and community groups will benefit tremendously from this partnership, through Burrenbeo Trust’s wealth of experience delivering place-based education programmes and the Heritage Council’s expertise through the long-standing Heritage in Schools programme.’

Burrenbeo Trust is inviting expressions of interest from primary schools, secondary schools and community groups who are interested in participating in the programme (the deadline for submissions is 1st Dec). Two online information sessions have been organised for 23rd Nov at 12.30pm and 25th Nov at 7.30pm for those who are interested in learning more. For further details please visit

The ‘Heritage Keepers’ programme is being rolled out by Burrenbeo Trust in partnership with the Heritage Council and with support funding from Rethink Ireland's Glas Community Fund.