I'm particularly fond of the National Folklore Collection, which is based at University College Dublin, so I'm pleased to learn that it can now seek a special UNESCO status, following Ireland's ratification of the UNESCO Convention for the Safeguarding of the Intangible Cultural Heritage.
The ratification was announced today by Heather Humphreys TD, Minister for Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht, who said that the GAA, in relation to hurling, Na Píobairí Uileann and the UCD Folklore Collection have all expressed a keen interest in getting this unique UNESCO recognition.
She said: “I believe that the inclusion of hurling, believed to be the world’s oldest field game, on the UNESCO list will demonstrate how a vibrant, community-based craft practice, which is upheld by a dedicated group of people on this island, can be shared with all communities and individuals from across the world.
“Similarly, the Uilleann pipes are a unique instrument, first developed in Ireland around 300 years ago. The Uilleann Pipes have a uniquely expressive and haunting sound; the sound of Ireland. The UCD Folklore Collection, meanwhile, contains a unique array of material on Irish life, folk history and culture.
“I believe that UNESCO recognition would provide a significant opportunity to showcase the uniqueness of Hurling, Uileann Piping and the UCD Folklore Collection beyond our national boundaries. It will also help to preserve them from one generation to the next."
The ratification of the Convention means that these organisations can now set about preparing their detailed case as to why they should obtain recognition under the Convention. The organisations have until the end of March 2016 to complete and submit their applications to UNESCO.