Catchment News

Heritage Week and Water Heritage Day,12-20 August 2023

National Heritage Week celebrates Ireland’s cultural, built and natural heritage. It brings together volunteers, community groups and heritage enthusiasts to share their experience, knowledge culture and practices. This year’s theme of ‘Living Heritage‘ invites you to explore the traditions and practices, knowledge and skills passed down through generations.

The theme of Heritage Week 2023 is “Living Heritage”. This is an opportunity to explore our intangible cultural heritage and links with the past through customs, practices and traditions.

You can find a list of events on the Heritage Week website: What’s On | National Heritage Week 12 – 20 August 2023

Water Heritage Day on Sunday 20 August will focus on discovering traditional knowledge, skills and practices associated with our natural waters. As an island nation we have a tradition of storytelling and many of our legends and folklore offer insights into the wisdom and customs of previous generations, and their associations with water. This year is an opportunity to highlight past and more recent stories.

Organise your own event

Why not host your own Stories from the Waterside event? There are lots of engaging ways to celebrate this important cultural connection for example, following a river from source to sea, producing a booklet on a local waterway, organising a boat tour or a river safari. The following guide offers a collection of ideas for anyone thinking about organising an event or project: 101 Event Ideas – National Heritage Week.

This week is also an opportunity to celebrate our pristine waters that have been passed down from previous custodians. Learn about this valuable link to our past, the fascinating species that depend on these waters (including the Freshwater pearl mussel with a life span of over 100 years!) and how we can help protect and improve them. Hope for achieving a sustainable future lies in local communities. By working together and supporting one another, we can learn to appreciate what is around us and to protect it for future generations to enjoy.

Getting involved

If you or your community have an idea for an event for National Heritage Week 2023 to highlight your local river, lake, estuary, or coast, contact your local Community Water Officer Here

Here are some ways you can get involved in Water Heritage Day:

  • With growing interest in Citizen Science as a way of generating new knowledge and understanding of nature, a local event can help communities learn more about the health of their local river and wildlife. Take part in a fun and educational activity to record and monitor nature and biodiversity in your local area.
  • Enhance your local water body and biodiversity. Nature knows what works best and there is a range of practical hands-on activities that communities can do to enhance their neighbourhood for biodiversity, public enjoyment, and climate resilience. Community events could include building raingardens, native tree planting in public spaces, or helping to roll out the All Ireland Pollinator Plan.

For helpful tips and resources to plan your event or project visit

Some highlights of National Heritage Week

Some of the highlights from Water Heritage Day 2022

Some memorable water related projects from the last few years include:

  • Stories from the Waterside – a unique collection of almost 500 stories from across Ireland. Submitted in both Irish and English by young and old alike as reflections on local waterbodies and appreciations of nature during restrictions of 2km and 5km journeys from home. See
  • In Search of Otter Poo: Otter ID on Mulkear River – Participants were led on a voyage of discovery along the river at Annacotty, Co. Limerick and children were encouraged to become nature detectives and learn about the wonderful, mysterious, and elusive world of Ireland’s otters.
  • Paddling through the Past – a guided kayak trip explored the cultural landscape of the Swilly Catchment, understanding how man has changed the landscape of the Inishowen and Fanad.
Dr Bernadette White of LAWPRO presenting the Water Heritage Award to Streamscapes , Co Cork for the Launch of Blue Dot Coomhola River Booklet

Who is involved?

Quite simply, everyone in Ireland has a role to play. This can be from something as simple as making sure you don’t pollute your local stream, or a local community working together to establish a Rivers Trust to enhance the rivers and lakes in their area, to a Government Department or Agency helping a Minister implement a new policy to help protect and enhance all our water bodies.

This website has been developed and is maintained by the Environmental Protection Agency, and is a collaboration between the Department of Housing, Planning and Local Government, the Environmental Protection Agency, and the Local Authority Waters Programme.


Local Authority Waters Programme

The Local Authority Waters Programme coordinates the efforts of local authorities and other public bodies in the implementation of the River Basin Management Plan, and supports local community and stakeholder involvement in managing our natural waters, for everyone’s benefit.


Environmental Protection Agency

The EPA is responsible for coordinating the monitoring, assessment and reporting on the status of our 4,842 water bodies, looking at trends and changes, determining which waterbodies are at risk and what could be causing this, and drafting environmental objectives for each.


Department of Housing, Local Government and Heritage

The Department is responsible for making sure that the right policies, regulations and resources are in place to implement the Water Framework Directive, and developing a River Basin Management Plan and Programme of Measures to protect and restore our waters.