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Honouring Heritage in Dromiskin - National Heritage Week 2023

Dromiskin Heritage Park, in late summer sunshine, was the setting for an event organised by Dromiskin Tidy Towns to celebrate National Heritage Week 2023. Pat Mulligan, Chairman of the Tidy Towns Committee welcomed all attendees to the event noting that the Park is developed on Parish lands and only made possible as a result of the support of the Parish Finance Committee in granting the necessary permission for the use of the land to develop a Heritage Park. Pat also noted that many of those in attendance were relatives of parishioners being honoured in various interpretations that highlight the varied history of the community. The Ginnety family were represented in great numbers to see the tribute to Catherine Ginnety, the matriarch of a family synonymous with commercial and agricultural life in Dromiskin for many years, which was included in a Famous Daughters Panel funded by The Heritage Council. This panel also paid tribute to the Chamney sisters, Harriet Fortescue and it was lovely to be joined by the daughters and son of Kathleen Hanratty honoured for her award winning camogie career.

Also funded from the same source was an interpretative panel on the Farming Heritage of the community from bygone times to modern days. Among those honoured was renowned and award winning ploughman, the late Pat McKeown, whose sons, daughter and their families were present. Pat’s sons Enda and Eamonn with grandson, Conor, are proudly carrying on the ploughing tradition locally and nationally. Indeed Enda continues Pat’s role as director with the National Ploughing Association.

A third panel relates the stories associated with the Traveller Community in our parish in bygone days.

Three recent installations in the Park were made possible by a grant under the LEADER programme and Mary O’Neill, Rural Development Manager with Louth Local Development was in attendance to see each formally unveiled by guest of honour Colm Markey MEP and Louth County Council’s Heritage Officer, Brendan Mc Sherry. Before the official unveiling of the Book Sign on the natural heritage, an Ogham Stone highlighting the significant dates in the community and one of two Audio Units telling stories from our past with voice recordings in English agus as Gaeilge by Dr. Brigid Flanagan, Gerry Kinahan, Senan Dolan, Pat Mulligan and Niamh Toner - a genuine age friendly and inclusive approach to honouring heritage. Colm addressed those in attendance. Commenting that we are all very proud of where we come from, no matter where we might live in the world, Colm paid tribute to Dromiskin Tidy Towns on keeping the heritage of the parish to the forefront of their work. It was important to note that former residents of the village were in attendance from New York and Wales reinforcing the pride we all have in the place we come from and the events and people that shaped it over many years. As a former Chairman of Louth LEADER Partnership Colm was also fulsome in his praise for Mary O’Neill and her team who are such a support to Tidy Towns groups in the county who wish to develop funding proposals with so many LEADER funded projects contributing to the success that Louth enjoys in the National Tidy Towns Competition. It was a busy week for Heritage Officer Brendan McSherry who nevertheless made the journey to Dromiskin to join in the celebrations and stress the importance of Heritage Week events to share the past with current generations. Brendan was delighted to see so many of the younger residents of the village there and playing an active part in so many of the projects. Colm Markey raised a Heritage flag to celebrate National Heritage Week.

The celebrations in the Heritage Park concluded with a poem, composed for the event, read by Aoibheann Lynch Principal of St. Peter’s N.S. with guests told of the superb collaboration between the school and the Tidy Towns committee resulting in many projects of mutual benefit coming to fruition. To celebrate Water Heritage Day those in attendance paid a quick visit to Ginnety’s Pond Nature Park, to see the works carried out to date to restore this wetland and create a community public space, on the site on which it is located and kindly donated by the Hand Family, for the development of this public space. A cuppa and conversation followed where stories were shared of associations with Dromiskin down through the years!

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