The art of dry stone walling and the Burren winterage will be featured as part of National Heritage Week 2020, which runs this week from 15 to 23 August.

The Department of Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht is supporting the delivery of 18 projects to showcase and raise awareness of Ireland’s intangible cultural heritage.

Under the Heritage Week 2020 sub-theme - relearning skills from our heritage - the Department has engaged with practitioners on projects to highlight and raise awareness of some of the diverse practices that are part of Ireland’s rich tapestry of cultural heritage.

The art of dry stone walling, the Holy Wells in Co Clare and the practice of Burren Winterage will all feature.

Ireland has the greatest length of dry stone walls across Europe. The Dry Stone Wall Association of Ireland said there are 400,000km of stone walls in the country, a figure which comes from the 2013 publication Europe’s Field Boundaries by Georg Muller.

Burren winterage

The Burren winterage, where cattle are herded from the lowlands to the highlands for grazing over winter, is unique to the Burren and nearby Aran Islands.

The practice of winter grazing has been shown by scientists to ensure the Burren’s orchid-rich grasslands come back to life and thrive each spring.

The upland limestone in the Burren provides a warm, dry place for the cattle to rest, as well as water from calcium-rich springs to drink. It usually takes place in October.

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