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Hundreds of events to take place before Heritage Week ends

We’ve got a county-by-county round up of the best events taking place this weekend to celebrate Irish culture and history.

Heritage Week celebrations at St Patrick's Cathedral. Costume soldiers re-enact a battle between two feuding Irish families, the Butlers and the Fitzgeralds.
Heritage Week celebrations at St Patrick's Cathedral. Costume soldiers re-enact a battle between two feuding Irish families, the Butlers and the Fitzgeralds.
Image: Mark Stedman/Photocall Ireland

HERITAGE WEEK DRAWS to a close for another year tomorrow but there are still hundreds of events to enjoy around the country.

We’ve picked out a sample of what every participating county has to offer between now and then.

Advice from the Heritage Council is to call ahead to ensure there is no pre-booking required.


Funnily enough, the Lake County is the place to be this weekend if you are a train buff. An exhibition of photographs and memorabilia of the railways of County Cavan are on display at the Johnston Central Library until September. Open on Saturday from 10.30am to 5.15pm. Free.


There is an Open Day at the Loop Head Lightkeepers’ House in Kilbaha in Clare on Sunday. Guests will be treated to a tour of the restored 19th-century lighthouse. The attraction is only open on a trial basis and this is one opportunity to take in amazing views from its top. Free.


The Mitchelstown Food Festival promises delicious “artisan” food from noon on Sunday in the grounds of the Kingston Arms. There will be tastings and cooking demonstrations, as well as entertainment for the children. Free.


Medieval weapons and magic will be on display in Donegal Castle from 2pm on Sunday. There will also be a live magic show. Free.

Over the whole weekend, there will also be traditional Irish music and dancing sessions in Glenveagh National Park in Letterkenny. Free.


An outdoor concert of traditional music will be held at the National Botanic Gardens. Mick O’Brien and his entourage will play the banjo, fiddle, harp, uilleann pipes and whistle during the seisiún which starts at 3pm. Free.

For a bit of history, head to Dublin Castle for a talk entitled ‘Sex and Scandal in the Vice-Regal Court: The Theft of the Crown Jewels’. Starts at 10.30am on Sunday and is free (booking required).


Not had your fill of the Rose of Tralee yet? Well, there’s still an opportunity to dive into the competition’s history at the Kerry County Musuem. Organisers say the exhibition allows the visitor to experience “50 years of fairytales with happy endings”. Open all weekend and entry is €5.


Castletown House in Celbridge has a host of events over the weekend, including special children’s tours of the impressive 18th-century house. Some period costumes will be available for dress-up time! Free but booking required.


Break out the Irish dancing shoes for a Céilí and ‘old-time dancing’ session at Portlaoise’s community centre on Sunday from 4pm. Free.


Poet Paul Muldoon will read in The Dock Gallery in Carrick-on-Shannon on Saturday from 2pm. €10.


This could be worth a visit just for its name. Manisternagalliaghduff, or the Old Abbey, is a medieval nunnery situated in a secluded valley near Shanagolden. Sunday from noon – meeting point is the Garda Station in the village. Free.


Corlea Craftfest offers items from local artists. Open on Saturday and Sunday from 10am in Keenagh. Free.


There are plenty of events happening across the Wee County, including the Ardee Medieval Festival and a celebration of Lughnasadh. Our pick is Taaffe’s Medieval Challenge, where people are asked to forage for food, milk the family goat and herd geese through the town at Taaffe’s Castle. Small charge applies.


It’s not an Olympic sport yet but ‘bál fada’ or ‘road bowling’, is one of Ireland’s oldest games. For beginners, the Mayo Road Bowlers Association will give demonstrations from 2.30pm on Sunday. Free


Feis Teamhra: A Turn at Tara takes place on Sunday from 3pm to 5pm. Poet Paul Muldoon, author Paul Murray and musicians Susan McKeown, Laoise Kelly and Aldan Brennan will all be performing at the Hill in this celebration of folklore. Free.


Peadar Morgan teaches visitors how to take care of the local wildlife during a talk and tour of the Monaghan Wildlife Education and Heritage Centre on Sunday. Free.


Go spinning in Offaly – and we don’t mean on a static bike while being shouted at by a overzealous gym instructor. The traditional skill of changing fleece (sheep’s wool) into yarn is being demonstrated in Edenderry Library on Saturday from 1pm. Free.


For the early bird-watcher (sorry), there is a bird-watching expedition planned from 9am on Sunday. Meeting point is in Lecarrow Village. Free.


It’s not free but visitors to the Eagles Flying Irish Raptor Research Centre in Ballymote can get up close and personal with the birds of prey. Adults €9, children €5.50.


Clonmel has a full weekend of events planned for its festival. All activities are free except the Medieval Banquet on Saturday evening. €15.


Comfort food is the specialty on Nells Farm House in Carrick-on-Suir and there will be bread and butter making demonstrations on Saturday afternoon from 3pm. Adults €8, children €5, family €20.


Children can be transported to a fantasy world as Fidget Feet present a series of magical performances and circus workshops during ‘A Fairies Tail.’ The shows take place on Saturday and Sunday from 1pm in Tullynally Castle Gardens in Castlepollard. Adults €10, children €6, family €26.


Learn how to build a boat in Wexford on Saturday during a hands-on workshop. There is also a demonstration of sailing at the Boat Building Shed at Seaview House in Maudlintown. Starts at 2.30pm. Free.


Bride’s Head Cliff Walk is a historic pilgrim’s trail, which locals call a secret, scenic walk. Organisers advise that the hike can be difficult in areas and strong shoes or boots are a necessity! Free.

Meanwhile, if you fancy yourself as a bit of a photographer, there’s also a National Heritage Week Photo Competition. Check out the details here.

For more details on the festival, see out www.heritageweek.ie or follow the organisers on Twitter @heritageweek.

Read: Over 1,400 events planned nationwide for National Heritage Week>

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