Limerick historian Sharon Slater becomes a ‘Heritage Hero’ for her contribution to heritage in Ireland

  • Sharon Slater receives Heritage Award
Chief Executive of the Heritage Council and Sharon Slater from Limerick, winner of the The Heritage Council’s Heritage Hero Award, pictured at the Heritage Council’s National Heritage Awards in the Medieval Mile Museum, Kilkenny. (Pic: Dylan Vaughan)

Limerick historian Sharon Slater has been presented with the Heritage Council’s Heritage Hero Award for her outstanding contribution to the protection and promotion of heritage in Limerick.

Sharon has worked tirelessly over the years in local history research in Limerick. As well as writing books on Limerick’s history, she established in 2004, an unparalleled treasure trove of Limerick history from rare images to untold stories of Limerick’s people and places.

Sharon devotes her time to heritage in the community from local heritage projects with Limerick Fishermen to leading bicycle tours! Sharon brings history to life for the people of Limerick and is a worthy recipient of the Heritage Hero Award.

Recently Sharon wrote the book A Stitch in Time – A History of the Limerick Clothing Factory, which coincided with the area opening as a social housing development.

Sharon was nominated by Bernadette Collins, Executive Planner with Limerick City and County Council.

The awards by the Heritage Council showcase the best of National Heritage Week 2017 and recognising the fantastic work of all the heritage enthusiasts who take part. The winners were announced at an awards ceremony in Kilkenny’s Medieval Mile Museum.

Following her win Sharon spoke of her delight to the Limerick Leader newspaper.

She said she was in shock. “They let me know that there were a few people who put my name forward. I would like to thank them for taking the time to do that. Limerick history has been my passion for such a long time that I cannot remember when I wasn't interested in it.

“Luckily I am standing on the shoulders of giants when it comes to history in Limerick, from John Ferrar who wrote the first history of Limerick in 1767 to the incredibly prolific historians such as Kevin Hannan and Jim Kemmy.

“Luckily when I began my research, too long ago to mention, there were a number of helping hands to guide me along the way, without the likes of Frank Prendergast I would have stopped researching a long time ago. Limerick is unique when it comes to history and how it can be accessed, this is down to the likes of the Limerick Library, Limerick Museum and Limerick Archives who have put large portions of their collections online.”

Ms Slater added: “This has made my work as a historian a lot easier than it would be if I had fallen in love with the story of another city. From the coal holes to the cathedrals Limerick history is everywhere and for me it has been a pleasure to explore it.”

Among the other award winners were: 

  • Hidden Heritage Award - The Great Irish Garden organised by Irish Seed Savers in Co. Clare
  • Heritage Communities Award - The Foyle: Tales of Salmon Fishing organised by Wild Strands in Co. Donegal
  • Cool for Kids Award - Go Wild Nature Camps organised by BirdWatch Ireland in Co. Galway

Heritage Week will be returning in 2018. From 18-26 August 2018, hundreds of event organisers in national institutions and local community organisations will organise Heritage Week events throughout the country. 

Heritage Week is coordinated by the Heritage Council and its aim is to build heritage awareness and education while shining a spotlight on the great work that is carried out in all communities in Ireland to preserve and promote our natural, built and cultural heritage.

In 2018, Heritage Week is a highlight of Ireland’s celebration of the European Year of Cultural Heritage. This initiative by the European Commission and coordinated in Ireland by the Heritage Council aims to involve all citizens in events that help to promote a sense of belonging to a common European space. 

The theme for the Year in Ireland is ‘Make a Connection’ which aims to deepen the connection between people and heritage, and build a legacy of increased public engagement. Heritage Week is exploring this theme through ‘Sharing Stories’. The week is a chance to share heritage stories in new ways, with new people. During Heritage Week everyone will have the chance to connect with their heritage, to enjoy, learn about, appreciate, and share it. 

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