First Aid to Cultural Heritage Ireland

Ireland has been a Member State of ICCROM since 1986, and over the years Irish professionals working in the cultural heritage sector have had the opportunity to attend excellent ICCROM training events worldwide. Participants have always returned full of enthusiasm, each time praising the experience and the high quality of training that they have received, as well as valuing the connections with fellow professionals that they have made.

The opportunity to have an ICCROM training event in Ireland has long been a goal of cultural heritage professionals working in our county. In 2017 the Irish National Committee of the Blue Shield (INCBS) invited ICCROM to deliver part of its flagship training course First Aid for Cultural Heritage in Dublin. The Irish government are on course to ratify the 1954 Hague Convention on the Protection of Cultural Property in the Event of Armed Conflict in 2018.

A full ICCROM training event was recently held in Dublin from 14 -16 February 2018, planned by INCBS to build awareness and capacity in the lead up to this historic event. Generous funding from the Heritage Council of Ireland and the Dublin Port Authority, and the support of the National Museum of Ireland, gave to ICCROM the opportunity to deliver its first training course in Ireland.

This ICCROM course is unique in addressing the needs of heritage professionals alongside those from non-heritage sectors, such as military personnel and emergency services.

The First Aid protocol and the scenario-based learning was beneficial for both sets of learners. The First responders learned about object handling, and collections documentation while the heritage professionals learned about command and control in an emergency, work flows and safe operating procedures.

In many instances emergency responders will be the first and possibly only personnel allowed access to heritage sites. INCBS is determined to continue building capacity into the future using ICCROM’s approach.

Having the ICCROM course in Ireland provided a platform for the key stakeholders to come together, to work successfully in team exercises, forming strong networks as a group over the three days of the course. There was a geographical spread, with participants from all over Ireland, including Northern Ireland.

The importance of linking with an international organisation and the value of learning from international best practice cannot be overestimated. This ICCROM training event has acted as a catalyst for many exciting developments for INCBS.

Being a Member State of ICCROM ensures that Ireland can continue to access high level training, and that mid-career Irish cultural heritage professionals remain relevant professionally and therefore are more able to deliver the highest standard of care for Ireland’s cultural heritage.



Zoë Reid

Senior Conservator, National Archives of Ireland
Member, Irish National Blue Shield Committee
ICCROM Council Member