Baltinglass Courthouse provided the landmark setting for a celebration of Wicklow’s heritage on Tuesday 13th March. Organised by the Heritage Office of Wicklow County Council in association with the Baltinglass Town Renewal Group and the Baltinglass Municipal District, the event saw the official launch of the County Wicklow Heritage Plan 2017-22 and the launch of three new Heritage Trail brochures for West Wicklow.
Speaking at the event Frank Curran, Chief Executive of Wicklow County Council welcomed the plan as ‘an ambitious and innovative strategy , providing a road map to guide the Council’s actions over a the five year period’. Cllr. Edward Timmins, Cathaoirleach of Wicklow County Council commented that ‘the people of Wicklow have great pride in their heritage and welcome the plan as an opportunity to play an active role in safeguarding it into the future and reaping associated economic and social benefits.’
The production of three Heritage Trail brochures highlighting the heritage ‘points of interest’ to be visited along three driving/ cycling routes; Blessington Lakeside area, West Wicklow and South West Wicklow was undertaken as an action of the Heritage Plan following the compilation of information about the natural and cultural heritage of West Wicklow. Michael Starrett, Chief Executive of the Heritage Council spoke at the event and highlighted the important role that local communities and individuals have in telling the stories of their local areas.
He praised the Plan and the Heritage Trails and re-iterated the Heritage Council’s commitment to supporting ongoing heritage activity in Wicklow. Dr. Keith Smith from the Discovery Programme gave a presentation on the online information available about Baltinglass Abbey on www.monasticireland.ie while Deirdre Burns, Heritage Officer highlighted the wealth of information that is available online through Wicklow’s online community heritage archive, www.countywicklowheritage.org.
The event was held in the Baltinglass Courthouse to showcase plans by the Baltinglass Town Renewal Group to re develop the building as a cultural /heritage attraction and a small business support hub. One of the highlights for many in attendance was an opportunity to visit the cells which have remained largely untouched for over a century.