Twenty-five things to do during National Heritage Week

From a pop-up museum in Donegal to bell-ringing in Cobh, there are plenty of free events around Ireland August 20th-28th


National Heritage Week,which runs from August 20th-28th, is Ireland’s response to the European Heritage Days programme, which was launched in 1985 by the Council of Europe and later embraced by the EU. The Heritage Council manages National Heritage Week in Ireland, publicising events in every county, many of which are free. All sites managed by the Office of Public Works (except Kilmainham Gaol) will be open free of charge on Sunday, August 28th. This year’s theme is 100 years of heritage, but you could still find yourself down a 5,000-year-old passage tomb or in a 12th-century cathedral.


The Gordon Lambert Collection at Imma
Royal Hospital Kilmainham, Dublin. August 23rd, 10.30am
Discover more than 300 works by Irish and international artists, including Picasso, Miró, Le Brocquy and Collins, donated to Imma by art collector Gordon Lambert. Admission free. 01-6129910,

Gallery tours of Jack B Yeats: A Broadside
Niland Galleries, The Model, Sligo. August 20th,21st, 23rd-28th, 2pm
A rare chance to see and learn about the complete set of Broadside magazines edited and illustrated by Yeats and published by Dun Emer and Cuala Press between 1908 and 1915. Admission free, no booking required. 071-9141405,


Choral Evensong
St Patrick’s Cathedral, Dublin. August 22nd-26th, 5.30pm
An open invitation to join in this historic liturgy sung by the Close Chorale in one of Ireland’s oldest cathedrals. Admission free, no booking required.

Cobh Bell Recital
St Colman’s Cathedral, Cobh, Co Cork. August 28th, 4.30pm
A recital of classical and popular music on this 49-bell carillon, performed by resident carillonneur Adrian Gebruers. A carillon is a series of bells in chromatic sequence, played from a keyboard. Admission free, no booking required.

Pipes and Concertina Traditional Music
Desmond Hall, Newcastle West, Co Limerick. August 21st, 4pm 
Traditional Irish tunes from concertina player Pádraig Mac Aodhagain and uilleann piper Nicola Stathers in the atmospheric surroundings of this medieval banquet hall. Admission free, no booking required. 069-77408,


Cork Heritage Open Day
August 20th, 10am-6pm
A chance to see inside more than 40 historic buildings, including Cork City Hall, Cork Opera House, the Glucksman Gallery and St Anne’s Church, Shandon. Admission free, booking required in some cases.

Medieval Rooftops of Kilkenny
Roof of the Pembroke Hotel, 11 Patrick Street, Kilkenny. August 20th-28th, 3pm
Get a bird’s-eye view of the medieval streetscape, gardens and rooftops, including Kilkenny Castle and St Canice’s Cathedral. Admission free, booking required. 056-7783500,

My House in Damascus: An Inside View of the Syrian Crisis
Royal Irish Academy, 19 Dawson Street, Dublin. August 24th, 6.30pm
Author Diana Darke will speak about Islamic architecture and life in the city of Damascus. €10/€5, book on

Merrion Square Open Day
Dublin, August 27th, 10am-5pm
Enjoy talks and tours of some of Dublin’s best Georgian buildings. Admission free, no booking required.

More than Concrete Blocks: The Life of O’Connell Street’s 20th Century Architecture
Starting from Clerys Clock, O’Connell Street, Dublin. August 28th, 2pm
Walking tour of Dublin’s main street. Admission free, no booking required. 01-2223090,

Irish Landmark Trust Open Day
August 28th, 10am-4pm
Visit these historic buildings: Loop Head Lightkeeper’s House, Kilbaha, Co Clare; Galley Head Lightkeepers’ Houses, Clonakilty, Co Cork; Wicklow Head Lighthouse, Dunbur Head, Wicklow; Salterbridge Gatelodge, Cappoquin, Co Waterford. Admission free, no booking required. 01-6704733,


Slievemore Deserted Village Walk
Starting from Slievemore Cemetery car park, Achill Island. August 20th, 10.30am
Take a guided walk through the ruins of up to 100 stone cottages on the southern slopes of Slievemore, rich in neolithic artefacts and remnants of early medieval settlements. Admission free, no booking required. A hill walk to Achill’s most remote beach at Annagh starts from Dooagh Beach car park on August 21st at 10am. €5, no booking required. 086-8439683,

Bringing the Sky to the Earth: The Loughcrew Chambered Cairns
Loughcrew Hills, Co Meath. August 27th, 3pm
Archaeologist Dr Robert Hensey will explore why these monuments were built 5,000 years ago. Admission free, no booking required. Also, free guided tours of Newgrange and Knowth from Brú na Bóinne Visitor Centre on August 28th, 9am-4pm.


Marsh’s Library and 1916
Marsh’s Library, St Patrick’s Close, Dublin. August 20th/27th, 10am-5pm; August 22nd, 24th-26th, 9.30am-5pm
Visit Ireland’s oldest public library to view collections of rare and early books. Visitors can also see the hidden garden next to the library. Admission free, no booking required. 01-4543511,

City Hall During the 1916 Rising
Dublin City Hall, Dame Street. August 22nd-24th, 1pm
Find out what it was like to be in the city centre at Easter 1916. Admission free, no booking required. 01-2222918,

Irish Medicine in War and Revolution
Royal College of Physicians of Ireland, 6 Kildare Street, Dublin. August 22nd-26th, 10am-4pm
Explore the challenges faced by medical professionals in 1914-1923, including revolutionary Dr Kathleen Lynn, who founded St Ultan’s Hospital for Infants in Dublin. Admission free, no booking required. 01-6698817,

Pop-up Museum
Buncrana Community Library, Co Donegal. August 23rd, 10am-12.30pm
The public is invited to bring their artefacts and share their stories from the past 100 years at this event. Admission free, no booking required. 074-9361941,

The Somme: People and Place
National Museum of Decorative Arts and History, Collins Barracks, Dublin. August 28th, 3pm
Historian and author of Road to the Somme Philip Orr will speak about the Irish associations with the battle and its legacy on Ulster. Admission free, booking required on


National Print Museum, Haddington Road, Dublin. August 21st, noon-4pm
Discover traditional printing techniques and machines in these hands-on activities. Admission free, no booking required. 01-6603770,

Kaleidoscope Creations and Persian Carpet Designs
Chester Beatty Library, Dublin Castle. August 22nd/23rd, 11am-12.30pm
Six- to 11-year-olds can create their own worlds of pattern, colour and shape at these workshops. Admission free, booking required. 01-4070772,

Harry Clarke Art Workshop
Farmleigh House, Phoenix Park. August 25th, noon
Children can create their own illustrations, taking inspiration from the works of Harry Clarke. Admission free, booking required. 01-8155914,


Mayo’s Dark Sky – Unlocking the Night
Ballycroy National Park. August 20th, 9pm
Listen for bats, trap moths and seek out nocturnal wildlife in Ireland’s first international Dark Sky Park. Admission free, no booking required. 098-498888,

Wildflowers and Dragonflies of the Phoenix Park
Phoenix Park Visitor Centre. August 21st, 3pm & August 24th, 11am
Identify wildflowers and discover dragonflies within one of Europe’s largest walled city parks. Admission free, no booking required. 01-6770095,

Geopark Walk and Talk
Fanore Beach, Co Clare. August 22nd, 2pm
Geologist Dr Eamon Doyle will explain the geology of the Burren at this informal walk and talk. Admission free, no booking required. 087-9008031,

The Celtic Tree Experience
Old Rectory, Killedmond, Borris, Co Carlow. August 28th, 3pm
Discover the trees worshipped by the Celts, see an Ogham stone and walk the Celtic tree trail. Admission free, booking required. 087-2707189,, 1850-200878

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