Award for Scattery Island Heritage Group

Award for Scattery Island Heritage Group


The Community Archives and Records Group announced two Irish winners for their 2022 Awards, one of them – Scattery Island Heritage Group won the Gathering and Preserving Heritage Award is based in Kilrush, Clare.

Community archives and heritage groups perform an amazing service to the country as a whole; highlighting untold stories from the past and gathering in stories from the present that will provide a fuller, rounder picture of how we live now to any future historian. They can also bring communities together and support local people to feel more connected to the places they live in.

The Community Archives and Heritage Group (CAHG) is part of the Archives and Records Association (UK and Ireland). Every year it gives awards to outstanding groups and projects to highlight and celebrate their work across the UK and Ireland. Awards are given in three categories:

  • Community Engagement
  • Gathering and Preserving Heritage
  • Wellbeing

And one entry is also chosen as the overall winner.

Alan Butler, Chair of the Community Archives and Heritage Group said:

“We were thrilled to receive three times the amount of entries this year from last year and we believe this came about by altering the process into a two-stage one. In the first stage, we invited entrants to tell us why their group was special and, from those entries, we shortlisted and asked for more details. Lots of community archivists told us why they do what they do and it was inspirational”.

48 entries were eventually whittled down to the three winners of the 2022 awards. The winner of the Gathering and Preserving Category was Scattery Island Heritage Group, Kilrush Co. Clare

The Scattery Island Heritage Group (SIHG) came into being in 2012 with a view to preserving, honouring and sharing the rich and varied heritage of Scattery Island. To this end the group liaised with the Office of Public Works (OPW), and Clare County Council, as key stakeholders involved with Scattery, and opened up membership to the wider community in Kilrush and West Clare with a view to further preserving the heritage of Scattery, and broadening its recognition

Scattery Island is a small island off the coast of County Clare in Ireland. Kilrush on the mainland is the closest town. The current Scattery Island Heritage group is partly derived from Kilrush Community Development (KCDL). Set up in the 1980s to improve the community in its widest sense KCDL became the prime mover in acquiring Scattery from Belgian owners in 1989, in collaboration with key stakeholders at the time.

SIHG joined the Irish Community Archive Network (iCAN) in 2019 and working in partnership with them developed a digital archive: Scattery Island Heritage – Our Island Story. The archive tells the story of Scattery Island, from St. Senan’s monastic settlement, to the maritime, agricultural and musical traditions of the Island. This work brings value to the local and wider community, making the heritage of Scattery accessible to all and enhances the work of local historical and oral history groups. A core part of the archive is that it invites contributions from the community, local, national, international, opening the door to heritage for all.

The judges awarded the Gathering & Preserving award to the Scattery Island Heritage Group for

  • Their work safeguarding oral histories, documents, photographs and artefacts relating to the Scattery Island community in the 19th and 20thcenturies. ,
  • Their plans to digitise and display the information
  • Their work with Irish Life and Lore on a project to capture new oral histories related to the Island.
  • The work of group members working on replicating artefacts and furniture from Scattery to photograph, share and donate back to the Island via the OPW.

Eve Brennan of SIHG says: “We feel that our work has been essential in recent times from a connectivity view, to capture and preserve a time in Scattery Island’s heritage that might otherwise be lost, or at best, fragmented. There are descendants of Island families and those who lived on Scattery whose accounts and memories of Island life are an integral part of reflecting the living heritage of the Island in the 19th and 20th centuries. Our work aims to secure, and preserve their accounts of this period through photographs, stories and artefacts building up collections, new and old, digitally, to share on our archive, and store for future generations.”

The Awards will be presented at the Community Archives and Heritage Group’s conference at the National University of Ireland, Galway on Saturday 16thJuly at 2.30pm.