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Six Irish heritage sites we should visit this Easter weekend

An award-winning Roscommon heritage hero tells us what heritage sites we should visit this weekend.

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.

shutterstock_505736857 Source: Shutterstock/M.V. Photography

shutterstock_567761080 Source: Shutterstock/alredosaz

shutterstock_243927634 Source: Shutterstock/yykkaa

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.

Arigna 2

Arigna

Archive Arigna Source: Arigna Mining Experience

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.

shutterstock_81932296 Source: Shutterstock/Gabriela Insuratelu

WESTPORT HOUSE 758A9183_90501221 Source: Eamonn Farrell/RollingNews.ie

WESTPORT HOUSE 758A9172_90501216 Source: Eamonn Farrell/RollingNews.ie

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.

Heritage Easter weekend 3 Source: King House

Heritage Easter weekend 2

Heritage Easter weekend

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.

MAKING LASSIE FILM IN IRELAND Source: Leon Farrell/Photocall Ireland

Killruddery House Source: Killruddery House

90436643_90436643 Source: Photo Dynamics PR

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…

Rath Cruachan & Visitor Centre Source: Rath Cruachan

Rath cruachan Source: Rath Cruachan

Medb Source: Rath Cruachan

Read: Ireland’s pilgrim paths: ‘They’re the great leveller – you could be Bill Gates or unemployed’

Read: A new cultural festival will reach every county in Ireland this Easter Monday

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