Heritage officer/interpreter

A heritage officer promotes the importance of a historic place or landscape to the public in order that it is understood, appreciated and protected as a valuable piece of a country/area’s history and identity.

Job description

The island of Ireland is renowned worldwide for its rich cultural and natural heritage and has many listed World Heritage Sites. Heritage officers promote the importance of historic places and landscapes. They are responsible for educating the community and tourists about the significance of these sites and objects. Heritage officers can be technicians, wardens or involved in conservation.

Work activities

  • Giving talks, tours and presentations to the public to inform them about a heritage site.
  • Leading various learning and participation events and activities.
  • Dealing with enquiries from the public.
  • Cataloguing and preserving archives.
  • Developing conservation policies and guidelines.
  • Advising government bodies and organisations an various aspects of heritage conservation.

Work conditions

Travel: can feature as part of the working day for some roles.
Working hours: typically standard office hours, likely to include weekends.
Location: Opportunities exist with heritage councils and sites across the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland. Some roles involve outdoor work.

Entry requirements

A minimum of a primary degree or equivalent postgraduate qualification in a relevant subject such as archaeology, architecture, planning or earth/natural sciences is necessary. The Heritage Council offers training programmes in areas such as landscape management and museum standards.

Relevant experience is vital for gaining entry into the heritage sector – careers in heritage generally begin with volunteering. County council positions require at least two to three years prior experience.