AN IRISHMAN WHO set up Ireland’s Famine Museum in Roscommon is one of 29 Europeans awarded for their commitment to heritage projects.
Jim Callery was one of over 200 applications and the only winner from Ireland this year – the public can vote for him to be one of seven European Masters of Heritage for 2017.
You can vote for Jim Callery here.
Voters have the chance to win a trip for two to Finland and be a special guest at the awards ceremony.
Callery’s family said that they were “exceedingly proud” of their father and have watched him ’toil and battle for over three decades’ to save Strokestown Park, which is now a world-renowned Famine Archive.
With great vision, personal finance and dedication he gave back to innumerable Famine victims their own voices and dignified them by remembering them and their stories.
Since he’s been recognised for his dedication to our cultural heritage, we asked him where we should visit this weekend (and of course there’s a fair few recommendations from his home county).
1. Kilkenny Castle
The beautiful castle located in the centre of the city, has been subject to many changes over eight centuries of its existence.
There’s a tea room, tours and a long history to go with it – opening hours available here.
2. Arigna Mining Experience – Arigna, Co Roscommon
Arigna Mining Experience centre was developed to preserve the energy heritage of the Arigna Valley and to ensure that Arigna maintains its link with energy themes.
This Energy Centre provides visitors with an insight into what coal mining life was like in the Arigna Valley, since its beginning in the 1700’s until closure in 1990.
3. Westport House – Co Mayo
With over 30 rooms on show, visitors can immerse themselves in life as far back as the 16th century when Grace O’Malley the Pirate Queen of Connacht ruled the land and seas around the estate.
As well as the magnificent grounds, house and dungeons, there’s a birds of prey centre, a pirate adventure park, a train tour and a carnival.
4. King House – Boyle, Co Roscommon
Built in 1730 as the seat of the King family, a powerful landowning dynasty, the house later became a military barracks and recruiting depot for the famous Irish regiment of the British army, the Connaught Rangers.
The house is now a museum which hosts musical, dramatic and cultural events and is a central locale for the Boyle Arts Festival.
5. Kilruddery Gardens – Bray, Co Wicklow
Walk around their gardens, take a guided tour of the grounds or rest in the bright tea room are just some of the things on offer at Kilruddery.
The winding driveway has pigs and horses in the field, and there are regular food markets and other events on, such as axe throwing competitions. The film Lassie was also shot here.
The gardens are open on weekends in April and October and 7 days a week from May to September, from 9.30 am to 6pm.
6. Rath Cruachan & Visitor Centre – Tulsk, Co Roscommon
Known as the ‘royal capital of Connaght’ and the home of the warrior Queen Medb, this area is a nominee for a UNESCO world heritage site. The visitor centre is quite modern looking though…