This year Wicklow Uplands Council joined with hundreds of communities across Ireland who took part in Heritage Week 2016. We promoted our Natural & Built Heritage with a Walk and Talk on the newly opened Avonmore Way near Rathdrum.
A group of over 30 walkers were led from Stump Forest Entrance by National Parks and Wildlife guide Eleanor Sutherland. Eleanor proved an excellent guide and her expert knowledge on the flora and fauna along the walk was both interesting and enlightening.
At the end of the walk the group arrived at Clara Vale and were treated to super hospitality from the Parish committee.
Pat Dargan, architect, and historian gave a very interesting and informative presentation on the built heritage in the Clara Vale. Pat focused on the importance of Heritage, Community and Continuity. He pointed out various residences in the area which would have served as the pub, post office and shop. The church in Clara Vale has undergone many changes over the years and Pat fascinatingly described these changes from the very earliest written records to recent times.
Pat outlined the significance of communities in relation to heritage and the important role that communities can play in preserving their local heritage features.
The Clara Vale community undertook a number of ambitious restoration projects in the area including; the recovery of old headstones from the river, the erection of a memorial stone to local people who died in World War I and the restoration of an old font. The font was meticulously repaired and restored to its former glory and use. Plans are in place for a community garden which will join the Avonmore way. These projects are testament to the community in Clara Vale who have promoted their own heritage keeping a lasting record of past and present heritage for future generations.