Hundreds of mapped points of heritage and cultural interest and dozens of biking and hiking trails in County Clare feature in a newly launched online resource.
HeritageMaps.ie has been developed by the Heritage Council working over the past 18 months with National Biodiversity Data Centre, the Discovery Programme, Compass Informatics and local authorities, including Clare County Council. It provides free web access to information on the built, cultural and natural heritage around Ireland and offshore.
Featuring over 150,000 mapped points of interest and 600 datasets displayed in map form, the viewer allows users to create customised maps and explore a vast range of Ireland’s heritage including pilgrim paths, burial grounds, museums, archaeological sites, maritime collections and walled towns, all from their phone, tablet or desktop.
Minister for Arts, Heritage, Regional, Rural and Gaeltacht Affairs, Heather Humphreys TD, stated, “Heritagemaps.ie should appeal to a wide audience and will be of use to people of all ages, from heritage enthusiasts, to school children and professional planners. It’s great to see a variety of agencies working together with the Heritage Council to produce this very useful online tool which will make accessing heritage information easier than ever before.”
Congella McGuire, Heritage Officer, Clare County Council, commented, “This valuable new resource showcases Clare’s natural, built and cultural heritage to the broader public. By doing so, it presents a tremendous opportunity to engage more people in its protection and its promotion.”
Speaking about the viewer, Michael Starrett, Heritage Council Chief Executive explained that it “acts as a one stop shop discovery tool, offering an incredible range of heritage data – a lot of which has never been publicly available before. Originally conceived as a tool for planners, we have seen a huge appetite from other sectors (education and tourism) and the general public.”
He added, “The viewer also brings heritage alive for a much more technologically savvy younger generation, something which the recent Creative Ireland programme talks about – enabling the creative potential of every child. The viewer is constantly being updated and added to and its launch now could not be more timely in helping communities, the length and breadth of Ireland, to realise the potential offered by investing in initiatives that will encourage heritage-led regeneration”.
Explaining how the platform works, Pat Reid of HeritageMaps.ie said “the viewer builds up national coverage of heritage datasets from local authority sources as well as using existing national datasets. It uses web services to access live data where possible, increasing data reliability. Users can also create cross-disciplinary views from hundreds of datasets – crossing over administrative boundaries, subject boundaries, and the land-sea boundary”.