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August 17, 2018 National Heritage Week 2018
Hundreds of thousands expected to attend National Heritage Week events

Archaeology digs, medieval festivals, a pollinator party and a recreation of Traveller life in the 1950s are just some of the events taking place during National Heritage Week. More than half a million people are expected to attend over 2,000 events running across the country, most of which are free.

Coordinated by the Heritage Council since 2005, National Heritage Week has become Ireland’s largest cultural event. This year’s programme, which will run from Saturday, 18th August to Sunday, 26th August, is a highlight of Ireland’s celebration of the European Year of Cultural Heritage (EYCH).

The call to action for Heritage Week activities is ‘Share a Story, Make a Connection’. Complementing Ireland’s famous tradition of storytelling, people are invited to share their stories with others, be they about a family heirloom, about traditional crafts, skills or music, or about little-known facts or forgotten places in their local area.

Highlights from the Heritage Week programme include:

  • The Big Dig at Glendalough, Co Wicklow. Saturday, 18th August, hourly slots from 11am to 5pm. Children aged 5-12 years are invited to explore the Viking world through a simulated and controlled archaeology dig, and to experience what it is like to be an archaeologist by learning how to excavate the remains of a Viking house. Free. To book a place email info@sia.ie.
  • Traditional rowing experience at East Wall Water Sports Group, Dublin 3. Saturday 18 August, 4pm to 6pm. Come and try rowing three of Ireland’s traditional rowing boats: east coast skiff, naomhóg and currach.  Open to all ages. Free. No booking required, but this event is weather dependent.
  • A recreation of Traveller life in the 1950s at National Museum of Ireland (NMI) – Country Life, Turlough Park, Castlebar, Co Mayo. Wednesday 22nd August, 10:30am to 4pm. See a fully restored barrel-top wagon, a traditional tent, a flat cart, a working tinsmith, a storyteller and a campfire at this living history demonstration by Meath Travellers Workshops Ltd. In association with Travellers’ Journey, the NMI’s new temporary exhibition.  Free. No booking required (drop-in activity).
  • Loughrea Medieval Festival ‘A Taste of the Past’ at Loughrea, Co Galway. 24th to 26th August. Step back in time for a weekend and experience the sights, sounds and smells of medieval life in Loughrea. Free. No booking required.
  • Trilingual wildlife stories at An Taisce’s Living Limerick, Curraghchase Forest Park, Co Limerick. 24th August, 2pm to 4pm. Learn about the plants and animals of Curraghchase Forest park and their place in our history, culture and folklore through English, Irish and Polish. Free. No booking required.
  • ‘Bee Smart’ pollinator party at Mountrath Amenity Area, Co Laois. 26th August, 2pm to 4:30pm. Buzz over to the pollinator party, a family-friendly celebration the story of the life and work of honey bees and wild bees with games, movies, workshops, honey-sampling and a chance to build a bee nest. Free. No booking required.

Commenting, Chairman of the Heritage Council, Michael Parsons said: “Ireland’s heritage is as wonderfully diverse and unique as the communities, volunteers and individuals who champion it in its many forms. Heritage Week is an opportunity for us to come together in celebration of our traditions and stories, while showing appreciation to all those who help make them accessible to the public.

“With events that span music, the environment, history, and nature there really is something for everyone. As the summer holidays drawing to a close, we hope the large selection of family-friendly events will appeal to those looking to make some lasting memories and end the break on a high note.”

Two special days will take place during Heritage Week. Wild Child Day on Wednesday, 22nd August is dedicated to wild children everywhere. It will have a particular focus on hands-on outdoor activities, from nature trails and storytelling sessions to craft workshops. Water Heritage Day concludes Heritage Week on Sunday, 26th August. Together with the Local Authority Waters & Communities Office, this day is a celebration of our most precious natural resource in all its forms, from the sea, to rivers, lakes and garden ponds.

The full programme of Heritage Week events is available at www.heritageweek.ie.

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