Ireland’s archaeology and cultural heritage are integral to our ever-changing national identity. Every townland and parish in Ireland is made up of a tapestry of archaeological monuments, landscapes, settlements and place names. The people of these townlands and parishes retain the island’s history in their personal names, surnames and oral memories. Throughout the world, libraries and museums hold artefacts, books, manuscripts and maps of archaeological and historic significance to Ireland’s past. Since the seventeenth century scholars have delved into the story of Ireland’s people and their landscapes and despite the efforts of so many scholars, countless topics remain unexplored and hidden away. In adopting the overall theme of Discovering Ireland’s Ancient Peoples and Landscapes the Discovery Programme’s role for the next three years will be to lead research and digital projects that focus on Ireland’s peoples and landscapes beginning with the first inhabitants who settled here around ten thousand years ago. In addition, we will aim to work with other organisations and communities to advance the concept that the people inhabiting this landscape today are the custodians of a valuable cultural heritage.
To accomplish the work of the next three years, the Discovery Programme will strive to complete seven key tasks: