‘BEO!’ - Keeping Irish Heritage Alive

 

Not since the Great Famine of the 1840’s has Ireland experienced such massive social, economic, demographic and cultural change.  The arrival of the ‘global village’ enhanced by the lowering of barriers between European countries has meant that Irish society has lost or is losing many of the features that once defined it as a country, namely poverty, emigration, nationalism, religious observance and an agricultural-based economy.

A once largely monolithic society experienced from the Celtic Tiger years increased urbanisation and arrivals of peoples from eastern Europe, Africa and the Indian subcontinent who have no cultural connection with its indigenous majority Celtic or Anglo-Irish inhabitants. This change could and should be an opportunity to enrich mainstream Irish culture by absorbing new influences. Though Ireland has been invaded many times before by foreigners, it nevertheless still managed to maintain its ‘Celtic’ ethos and survive centuries of oppression relatively intact. Our millennia old love of poetry, music, spirituality, freedom and nature still burns deep in our souls and many invaders have become bewitched and found themselves becoming ‘more Irish than the Irish themselves’. Being Irish is really more a state of mind than an element of race.

But it is important that we recognise and preserve our nation’s human, built and natural heritage so that it is does not fade into history and that its positive characteristics can be developed to give meaning to the population of 21st century Ireland.

BEO
a schools-based digital archive heritage project funded by Galway County Council and coordinated by the Insight Centre for Data Analytics at NUI Galway in conjunction with the Galway Education Centre.