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Friday 8 December 2023 Dublin: 9°C
Shutterstock/Irina Wilhauk
Heritage Week

From dark skies to Dublin's lost prisons: Sixteen events to check out this National Heritage Week

The annual heritage week takes a hybrid approach this year, with events in-person and online.

ANNUAL HERITAGE WEEK is well under way and event organisers around the country taking a hybrid approach this year. You and your family have the opportunity to experience Ireland’s heritage sites across the country or from the comfort of your own home.

Heritage week is a yearly celebration of Ireland’s built, natural and cultural heritage and aims to promote an awareness and appreciation of those resources. While there may be be lots to learn, there is also plenty of fun to be had by all.

Heritage week kicked off on Saturday 14 August but don’t worry it runs until Sunday 22 August so there are plenty of events, both online and in-person, to be enjoyed. You can look for events happening in your own area here and we’ve put together a collection of some of the most interesting below.

  • Get in touch with the wild side: Rewilding has become a central topic in discussions about conservation. In this online event, Dr Paul Jepson, Nature Recovery Lead with Ecosulis will take virtual attendees through the need for rewilding and its part in restoring nature. Taking place from 2pm to 3pm Friday 20 August online tickets are available here.


  • Riverside art: On Sunday 22 August from 2pm until 5pm, Sligo Tidy Towns are inviting people of all ages to paint Sligo’s Garavogue river. You don’t need to be Monet to attend, all ages and abilities can come along to take part in some riverside art. Booking is required as places are limited.


shutterstock_757737736 Shutterstock / Lucky Team Studio Garavogue river, Sligo Shutterstock / Lucky Team Studio / Lucky Team Studio

  • Wooly situations: In Co Galway, Irish fibre crafters have a mission to share their love of local Irish wool, to do this they are holding workshops to get people crafting with wool. Highlights include spinning from 1pm to 3pm on Thursday 19 and weaving at the same time on Friday 20, booking is required.


  • A mountainous feat: If you enjoy hill walking then this one’s for you. Geologist Maria Cullen and botanist Howard Fox will be leading a walk up Dough Mountain, North Co Leitrim. You will have the chance to soak up the gorgeous views and take in the rich biodiversity of the area. Beginning at 11am on Sunday 22, the walk will take approximately 3 hours.


  • South Dublin street art: If you were looking for a street art tour you might not have expected to find it in Dún Laoghaire. Nevertheless, Germain Dalton will tour the area’s art detailing the stories of the artists and their work. The event takes place on Friday 20 at 11am, booking is required. 


  • Willow weaving workshop: Willow trees aren’t just pretty to look at, they are also extremely versatile. At this workshop under expert guidance you will be shown how to craft a traditional willow rattle in half an hour. Taking place at Future Forests, Kealkil, Co Cork on Saturday 21 August, booking is required.

1734BD3E-168F-43FE-BA17-55065840A5BD A traditional willow rattle

  • Authors and playwrights: The country of poets and playwrights brings you the tour to showcase some of Galway city’s finest. Tour guide Brendan Hynes will take you on a journey recalling the tales of Galway’s literature, theatre and famous faces. Kicking off at 1.30 pm on Sunday 22, booking is required.


  • Donegal discoveries: Taking place at Glenveagh National Park, the event will not only feature a walk through Donegal’s scenic terrain but will also ask questions about how our ancestors shaped the land and impacted nature in the area. Both walks are approximately 4 to 5 kilometres, waterproof footwear and suitable clothing will be needed. The event takes place on Wednesday 18 at 10 am and 2pm, booking is required.


shutterstock_1891137448 Shutterstock / Irina Wilhauk Glenveagh National Park, Co Donegal Shutterstock / Irina Wilhauk / Irina Wilhauk

  • Lock ‘em up!: Kilmainham Gaol is widely known across the country but lesser-known are the numerous lost prisons that operated throughout Dublin. Tours of lost prisons in the north of the city will be taking place at 12 pm Thursday 19 and Friday 20. For lost prisons in the south of the city, separate tours on the same days are taking place. Booking is required to secure your place. 


  • In a galaxy far, far away: For all the astronomers out there, from Tuesday 17 to Thursday 19, Dark Sky Ireland is hosting a series of online events to discuss different themes of dark skies. Taking place at 5pm each day you can book your place here.


  • Historic Bantry: This photographic exhibition and walking tour will take you through the centuries-old history of Bantry, Co Cork. Taking place on Wednesday 12pm, booking is required.


  • Knights in training: An online workshop tailored to children aged from 6 to 12 years old will take mini adventurers on a quest to make an Anglo-Norman shield. Featuring magical storytelling crafts and some historical facts this event is sure to keep little ones entertained. Taking place on Sunday 22 at 2pm, online booking is required. 


  • Through the artistic lens: Taking place on Friday 20 at 6pm, this online talk by the National Gallery of Ireland looks at a selection of art through an LGBTQIA+ lens. Booking for the event is required


shutterstock_100292306 Shutterstock / Patryk Kosmider Portumna Castle Shutterstock / Patryk Kosmider / Patryk Kosmider

  • Capture the castle: This real-life treasure hunt in Co Galway will allow the whole family to search for clues hidden throughout Portumna town, the old priory ruins and sentry towers in a quest to find the key to the castle. Booking is required for the event, which takes place on Wednesday from 12pm to 4pm.


  • Georgian mansions: On Sunday 22 visitors will be able to take part in free tours of Kings House situated in Boyle, Co Roscommon. Dating back to 1720, the mansion offers a delve into the past with collections displaying both Irish history and art. Booking is required, with tours taking place from 11am to 3pm.


  • Buzzing along: Saving the bees has never been more important, with this in mind in Ballinrobe, Co Mayo, you will be able to hear about how to make your garden bee and butterfly friendly. Taking place on Wednesday 18 from 2.30pm to 3.30pm, booking is required.

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