Our natural waters reflect our past, present, and future.

It is said that rivers are a mirror for society; they reflect our impressions on the land. At no time in living memory has our impact on the natural world been so abundantly clear as it is today. We need to change certain behaviours and practices if we are to achieve a more sustainable way of living, in balance with the natural world. Only then will our rivers, lakes and natural waters reflect a society with a full appreciation of nature and our living heritage.

Hope for achieving a sustainable future lies in local communities. By working together and supporting one another, we can learn to appreciate what is around us and to protect it for future generations to enjoy. This is a core message delivered by Community Water Officers each year in the run up to Water Heritage Day, which is the last day of Heritage Week –

For 2022 Water Heritage Day is Sunday 21st August.

Click here for a list of events. 

National Heritage Week 2022

National Heritage Week 2022 will focus on two core themes: sustainable heritage and biodiversity. Water meanders through both themes like a great river through the landscape, shaping the natural, built, and cultural heritage of communities along its path.

For the past two years, our ability to gather in large groups has been restricted. Thankfully, it is different this year. Community Water Officers will work with Heritage Officers in each county to support community-led projects and events that explore nature and our natural waters. This year there is a particular focus on projects that highlight nature and biodiversity in towns and cities, in appreciation of cleaner, greener urban spaces.

Some memorable water related projects from the last two years include:

  • Stories from the Waterside – a unique collection of almost 500 stories from across Ireland. Submitted in both Irish and English by young and old alike as reflections on local waterbodies and appreciations of nature during restrictions of 2km and 5km journeys from home. See https://storiesfromthewaterside.ie
  • In Search of Otter Poo: Otter ID on Mulkear River – Participants were led on a voyage of discovery along the river at Annacotty, Co. Limerick and children were encouraged to become nature detectives and learn about the wonderful, mysterious, and elusive world of Ireland’s otters.
  • Paddling through the Past – a guided kayak trip explored the cultural landscape of the Swilly Catchment, understanding how man has changed the landscape of the Inishowen and Fanad.

Getting Involved

Here are some ways you can get involved in Water Heritage Day:

  • With growing interest in Citizen Science as a way of generating new knowledge and understanding of nature, a local event can help communities learn more about the health of their local river and wildlife. Take part in a fun and educational activity to record and monitor nature and biodiversity in your local area.
  • Enhance your local water body and biodiversity. Nature knows what works best and there is a range of practical hands-on activities that communities can do to enhance their neighbourhood for biodiversity, public enjoyment, and climate resilience. Community events could include building raingardens, native tree planting in public spaces, or helping to roll out the All Ireland Pollinator Plan.

If you or your community have an idea for an event for National Heritage Week 2022 to highlight your local river, lake, estuary, or coast, contact your local Community Water Officer Here