Ireland’s Heritage Hero is Eugene Dunbar from Co. Westmeath

Brigid Geoghegan
Brigid Geoghegan • 7 February 2019

National Heritage Awards 2018 Winners

The dedication of individuals and community groups across Ireland to the preservation and promotion of Ireland’s heritage was recognised at the National Heritage Awards 2018 and closing ceremony for the European Year of Cultural Heritage 2018.

The special event at the Royal Irish Academy was attended by Minister of State at the Department of Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht, Seán Kyne TD and presented by RTÉ broadcaster, Mary Kennedy.

This year’s award winners reflect the full breadth of Ireland’s diverse heritage, spanning natural, built and cultural heritage.

Heritage Hero Award

The Heritage Hero Award celebrates an individual who always goes the extra mile for heritage, who makes an outstanding contribution to the protection and promotion of heritage in Ireland. The Heritage Council received 592 nominations for this year’s Heritage Hero Award.

Ireland’s Heritage Hero is Eugene Dunbar from Co. Westmeath. Eugene goes above and beyond to promote and protect the built, cultural and natural heritage of Westmeath.

Eugene was a geography teacher before retiring and has since devoted his boundless energy to local heritage. He is a founding member of ETHOS (Everything Tyrellspass Has On Show), a group set up to promote and enhance local heritage in Tyrellspass. Eugene is also involved in the Community Wetlands Forum and is a dedicated guardian of Cloncrow Bog, a Special Area of Conservation.

Eugene records biodiversity with his camera but also with the national biodiversity campaigns. He is active with Birdwatch Ireland and was involved in the recent swift survey of Westmeath. Eugene organises traditional music sessions and a weekly comhra, Irish language conversation group, in the village as well as geology lectures, biodiversity walks, field trips and more. His is always available to help anyone interested in the heritage of the village.

The Heritage Council is pleased to award Heritage Hero to such a dedicated and enthusiastic advocate for the appreciation of local heritage.

Congratulations Eugene from all in WPPN - well deserved