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  • Tubber sign
    Photography © 2006

    Notes from the Aughty People & Earth Day Heritage discussion group, recorded by Tom Varley.


    I realise why I like working in Archaeology - and Biodiversity as well:

    • The nature of the excitement that each of the groups share with how they see the world touches parts of ourselves.
    • It is a reflection of aspects of ourselves.

    Very quickly some of the things that were raised in our group were:

    • Heritage is difficult to define.
    • Heritage seems to include and yet divide.
    • Yet I think in this room people are defining it according to them.
    • But also they are sharing it in parallel with other disciplines.
    • Normally it has been corralled as "my heritage".
    • Often in a personal and beautiful way.
    • Or an official way to express it.
    • So what we were thinking about is that "Dúchas" as a word has a cultural milieu as well, rather than just "heritage" which is often seen as a scientific or an isolated word.
    • We admit for a lot of people heritage doesn't exist.
    • Possibly one of the reasons is that for the generation before us this was a common denominator - heritage didn't exist - it was more to get food into your belly or get on the emigration boat.
    • So we are in a time frame where we have responsibilities to look at it now.
    • The structures that are in place are perhaps almost too official in that they exclude certain parties from expressing heritage in a user friendly way.
    • What we came to see is that we need to find ways to express heritage that are comprehensible to the majority of the people.
    • It is a community resource.
    • It isn't an isolated, exclusive commodity for any one person or group.
    • It is actually a shared heritage, a global shared heritage.
    • We are in a position where we have a new generation of people coming to maturity now and we include in their future some of the information we are able to pass on.
    • One of the keys is that its going to take new ways to bring heritage out as a word.
    • That is not an exclusive minted first edition stamp, but is a common stamp that is posted everywhere, simultaneously.
    • Not the 19th Century stamp - but perhaps the Internet is one way.
    • What we could do practically this summer is we could invite our community neighbours in the next parish in Beatha to come here to Crusheen.
    • We can go an explore some secret places (this is one word that was used last summer).
    • A secret place that we perhaps know about, we can share with the next community.
    • We can walk there and as we walk along the way we can have a meeting like we're having here, except we are not sitting down.
    • We're walking and we're talking.
    • So, in fact, it's a journey we're on rather than a destination.
    • And the secret place isn't like a private place.
    • It belongs to us all.
    • It's a holy well.
    • It has more a communal nature both from the past and the present.
    • It's an interesting mixture of both a natural resource and the spiritual.
    • Because it's so difficult to define heritage, it's really up to us now to find the ways and means to express that for the future.
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