Climate Change and Heritage Webinar Series

The Local Authority Heritage Officers Network organised a series of four webinars on aspects of heritage and climate in January and February 2022. The webinars focussed on positive actions for climate from the heritage sector. Topics included nature-based solutions, adaptation of heritage structures, risk assessment and a focus on practical conservation and learnings that can be applied nationwide.

Malcom Noonan, Minister for State for Heritage launched the first seminar on Thursday 27th January. The series was supported by the Local Authority Heritage Officer Network, the City and County Managers Association and the Heritage Council.

Details of each Webinar are below, and recordings of the webinars will appear here after each session is complete.

Embedding Climate in Heritage
Thursday 27th January 2022

The first webinar focused on how we work to embed the climate crisis, and mitigation and adaptation approaches into the heritage agenda. We were delighted to welcome Minister Malcolm Noonan to open the webinar series. Our first webinar chair was Paddy Woodworth, author and journalist.

Speakers and Presentations below:

The role of Local Authority Heritage Officers in supporting climate action. Shirley Clerkin, Monaghan County Council.

Abbeyleix Climate Action Project. Catherine Casey, Laois County Council

Fingal Cultural Heritage and Climate Change Risk Assessment. Christine Baker, Fingal County Council.

The full recording of the event including the introduction by Minister Malcolm Noonan is below.

Wetlands Community and Climate
Thursday 3rd February 2022

“Peatlands are an outstanding example of nature-based solutions and should be high on the political agenda…We must make peatland protection a more central part of our climate policy.”
– Global Peatlands Initiative at COP26.

The second webinar focussed on wetlands and their important role for both climate mitigation in absorbing carbon and adaptation by providing many ecosystem services. The chair for this webinar was Dr Martina Maloney, Chairperson of the Heritage Council.

Speaker details and presentations below:

Brittas Bay Conservation Project and Climate. Deirdre Burns, Wicklow County Council

Killaun Bog Project, Birr. Amanda Pedlow, Offaly County Council

County Wetland Surveys, Deirdre Cunningham, Mayo County Council


Thursday 10th February at 9.30am
Nature based solutions for climate

Nature is “one of the most effective ways” of combatting climate change.

– Inger Andersen, UNEP.

Nature-based solutions are actions that protect, sustainably manage, and restore natural or modified ecosystems. They address societal challenges, thereby simultaneously providing human well-being and biodiversity benefits.

Our webinar chair for this session was Claire Cooper, Assistant Principal, Science & Biodiversity Unit, NPWS.

Speaker details and presentations are below.

Kilkenny Pollinator Programme, Dearbhala Ledwidge, Kilkenny County Council.

Drain blocking on Sliabh Beagh blanket bog, Shirley Clerkin. Monaghan County Council.

‘Hedging Carbon’ – The importance of hedges and their value for carbon sequestration, Melanie McQuade, Westmeath County Council.

Thursday 17th February at 9.30am
People Heritage and Climate

“Real success can only come if there is a change in our societies and in our economics and in our politics.”
– David Attenborough.

Local Authorities work with communities, landowners and politicians to create improved understanding and engagement with our places through the lenses of heritage and biodiversity. A sense of rootedness in a community helps stabilise society and allows actions to be taken for the common good.

Our webinar chair for his webinar was Sean McKeown, Director of Services, Kilkenny County Council and member of CCMA Rural Development, Community, Tourism, Culture and Heritage Committee. We were also delighted to be joined by Virginia Teehan, Chief Executive of the Heritage Council to sum up the webinar series.


Historic Towns Initiative in Sligo and its contribution to climate change adaptation in the historic built environment.
Siobhán Ryan, Sligo County Council.

Galway Field Monuments and climate change.
Marie Mannion, Galway County Council.

Rahara Conservation and climate proofing through the Community Monuments Scheme.
Nollaig Feeney, Roscommon County Council

Species-rich grasslands, public parks and carbon sequestration that is visible to the community.
Rosaleen Dwyer. South Dublin County Council.

This seminar series was organised by the Local Authority Heritage Officer Network. Local Authority Heritage Officers play a key role in promoting heritage awareness, developing policy and providing advice and information on local as well as national heritage issues.

County Heritage Officers are employed by Local Authorities in partnership with the Heritage Council under the auspices of the Heritage Officer Programme, which was initiated in 1999. The programme celebrated 20 years in 2019. As of 1st September 2021, there is now a Heritage Officer employed in each Local Authority. More information on the network is here.


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