What to do during National Heritage Week

With over 2,000 heritage events lined up there really is something to interest everyone

Castletown Round House, an Irish Landmark Trust property

Castletown Round House, an Irish Landmark Trust property

 

Having begun as somewhat of a pipsqueak biting at the heels of more established European Heritage Days, Ireland’s National Heritage Week has now established an eminent reputation for itself, with more than 450,000 people expected to participate this year in nearly 2,000 heritage events around the country from August 19th to 27th. Many of the events are free and more than 75 per cent of them are hosted by volunteers or individuals in small communities who simply wish to champion their local heritage.

Particular emphasis is being put on two specific days of the nine-day celebrations: Wild Child Day on August 23rd is dedicated to fostering a love of wildness in children everywhere, and National Whale Watch Day on August 26th is about highlighting Ireland as one of the world’s best places to spot whales and dolphins. Free, guided whale watches at 20 headlands and vantage points throughout the country where whales are most regularly seen.

Some random examples of the 2,000 offerings:

Free boat rides on the Boyne canal, August 27th, 1pm-4pm. The Boyne Canal Restoration Group offers trips along the Oldbridge section of the canal. This is probably your only chance to navigate this stretch of water until the restoration is completed, if ever.

The Living Bog, Streete village, Co Westmeath, August 23rd, 7pm: a free evening of exploring one of the oldest natural habitats in the world – the peatlands of Westmeath, with a NPWS conservation ranger and members of the Raised Bog Restoration Project. Free. raisedbogs.ie

Ritual animal sacrifice in Irish folklore, Kerry Writers Museum, Listowel, Co Kerry, August 20th, 7pm. The high druid of folk academia, Dr Billy Mag Fhloinn, explores the customs and traditions of murdering animals for spiritual and cultural epiphanies. Free.

Go Biking with a Viking: walk or cycle along the Waterford Greenway to Woodstown, Co Waterford, noon-4pm, August 27th, where a Viking village awaits. featuring medieval archery, wattle-fence and mud-brick making, with walks and talks on nature, wildlife and the intricacies of Viking Waterford.

Canal barge cruise to Leinster Aqueduct, Sallins, Co Kildare, August 19th-20th and 25th-27th, 1pm-4:30pm. Take a train to Sallins and then cruise along the Grand Canal to one of Ireland’s finest examples of 18th-century canal engineering. Adult: €13.50 Child: €9.

Irish Landmark Trust Open House, August 27th, 10am-4pm: snoop around some of the trust’s 31 quirky, eccentric and distinctive buildings which range from lighthouses and schoolhouses, to castles and gate lodges.

Irish pilgrim passport: Walkers can collect a pilgrim stamp at each of 5 ancient walking routes before being awarded a full Irish pilgrim passport at Ballintubber Abbey, Co Mayo. Local guides will lead walks at St Finbarr’s Pilgrim Path, Co Cork (August 19th and 20th); Cnoc na dTobar, Co Kerry (August 21st); Cosán na Naomh, Co Kerry (August 22nd); St Kevin’s Way, Co Wicklow, (August 24th); Tóchar Phádraig, Co Mayo (August 26th) pilgrimpath.ie

For more: heritageweek.ie

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