Weekend of racing and festivals ahead


A round-up of some of the events taking place around the country this weekend:

National Heritage Week

More than 1,500 events will take place all over the country for Heritage week, which kicks off tomorrow. This year, events will focus on Ireland’s built heritage, with many historic sites and houses open to the public for the first time.

Some of the properties open for guided tours over the weekend include Courtown House and Demesne in Kildare, once home to film director John Huston, and Stradbally Hall House, whose grounds play host to the Electric Picnic music festival every year.

The majority of events are free, but some tours need to be booked in advance. heritageweek.ie

Gaelforce West

Adventure athletes from around Ireland will gather in the west of Ireland tomorrow for the largest one day race of its kind in the world. Competitors take off from Glassilaun Beach in Galway and cycle, run, hike and kayak for 67km through bogs, across Killary Harbour and up Croagh Patrick before crossing the finish line at the pier in Westport.

Spectators can catch a glimpse of the action from a number of points along the route. The best vantage points include the Killary Adventure Centre, some sections of the N59 and R335, and at the finish line.


Rose of Tralee International Festival

The Rose of Tralee International Festival begins today, with a craft food market on Denny Street, a tea dance in the Rose of Tralee Festival Dome, a treasure hunt in Pearse Park, and a live concert headlined by Jedward on the Denny Street stage at 7pm this evening.

Festivities will continue throughout the weekend, with live music, comedy, parades, fireworks and fashion shows, before the 2012 Rose is crowned by Dáithí Ó Sé on Tuesday evening.


Phoenix Park Motor Races

A crowd of more than 60,000 is expected to attend the annual Phoenix Park Motor Races, which take place tomorrow and Sunday after a two year hiatus. The event is celebrating its 110th anniversary this year.

The highlight of the weekend will be the Dublin Grand Prix on Sunday, with other action-filled races by Strykers, Irish touring cars, GTs, Supercars and classic bikes. Spectators can get a glimpse of the cars up close and meet the drivers over the weekend at the paddock in Farmleigh, and Irish driver Aron Smith will be briefing visitors on the safety behind motorsports.

The event is free. phoenixparkmotorraces.ie

All-Ireland hurling semi-final

Munster champions Tipperary will be hoping for a win against current holders Kilkenny in Croke Park on Sunday in the All-Ireland hurling semi-final, after losing to them in the final last year.

If Kilkenny win on Sunday, they will find themselves in their seventh final in a row, a record for any team. A win for Tipp will secure their fourth successive final, a first for the county. Attendance is expected to exceed that of last weekend’s first semi-final between Galway and Cork, which attracted 41,537.

Kick-off is at 3.30pm, and tickets are still available for the match. gaa.ie

Tuam Arts Festival

The Tuam Arts Festival celebrates its tenth year this weekend, with a family-friendly programme of street theatre, visual arts, music, theatre and workshops.

Punk poet John Cooper Clarke will take to the stage in the Correlea Court Hotel at 8pm this evening, while poet Wayne Dunne makes his stage debut in Canavan’s at the same time. He will be followed by electronic group Nanu Nanu and performance artist Vicky Langan at 11pm.

Dog and String will present a puppet show at the Tuam shopping centre tomorrow at 1pm, and there will be a children’s party in the rustic vaults tent at 3pm on Sunday.