Island hopping through heritage - A spotlight on Heritage Week island events

Ireland is surrounded by islands big and small just waiting to be explored. Step away from the hustle and bustle of life on the mainland and see a new side to Ireland by visiting some of our most cherished islands. Join in on a beach clean on Ireland’s Eye in Dublin, try whale watching on Valentia Island in Kerry or attend a house dance on Scattery Island in Clare.

There’s an island event to suit everyone, even those not too keen on boats. Here are just some of the exciting island events happening this National Heritage Week.

1. Guided Nature Walk on Whiddy Island, Co Cork

Spend an afternoon tracing the footsteps of Ireland’s first botanist, Ellen Hutchins, during this guided walk on the beautiful Whiddy Island. Part of the Ellen Hutchins festival taking place over Heritage Week, this event is a great opportunity to soak in the fresh air and the almost undisturbed nature of this island, located off the coast of Bantry Bay. The walk takes place on Thursday, 22nd August and further details are available here.

2. Coastal Heritage Cruise, Co Donegal

Will you be in Donegal this Nation Heritage Week? Why not spend a morning exploring the stunningly rugged coastline on a cruise around Cruit and Owey Islands. You will have the chance to hear all about the place names and the history of the area while taking in the views of the Northwest coast. The excursions run from Tuesday, 20th to Friday, 23rd August. Further details and booking information is available here.

3. The Glacial Landscape of Clew Bay, Co Mayo

Come to Clew Bay and learn all about how the Ice Age affected the area and shaped this unique landscape. Set in the shadow of Croagh Patrick, you can take in the beauty of these islands without having to leave the comfort of solid ground. Taking place on Thursday, 22nd August, this is a perfect event for those who want to see island heritage without having to get on a boat. Further details are available here.

4. Whale Watch Ireland 2019, Co Kerry

Spend a day on the gorgeous Valentia Island. This day long activity on Saturday, 24th August commences with an opportunity to explore the island in the morning before reconvening for lunch. After lunch you will then meet your Whale Watch Ireland guide, with whom you will spend the afternoon looking out for and learning about whales, dolphins and other marine life who live in the waters around the island. Further details available here.

5. Irelands Eye: Beach Clean & Heritage Tour, Dublin

Are you someone who would like to be involved? Join Clean Coasts for an afternoon beach clean-up and a heritage tour of one of Dublin’s lesser explored landmarks. This event is an opportunity to learn about the effects of climate change on coastal heritage and how we can help. There will also be a talk on the geology and archaeology of the island. The trip takes place on Saturday, 17th August. Further details available here.

6. House Dance on Scattery Island, Co Clare

Join a local dance teacher and spend the afternoon learning traditional dances such as the Caledonian set, shoe the donkey, and waltzes. Take in the wonderful landscape of Scattery Island and visit its historical sites including a lighthouse, a ruined monastery and much more. This family friendly day out takes place on Saturday, 24th August. Further details available here.

7. Féile na bhFlaitheartach: 2019, Co Galway

Visit the Aran Island of Inis Mór, one of Irelands most popular tourist attractions, for a full day of events celebrating two local writers, Liam and Tom O’Flaherty. Events include talks, discussions, dramatic presentations and more. This great celebration of Irish writing talent takes place on Saturday, 24th August. Further details available here.

8. An Arranmore Holiday 1889, Co Donegal

Join Seán Boner, President of the Donegal Historical Society for his illustrated talk on the Sinclair family’s exceptional photograph album of their holiday on Arranmore, in the summer of 1889. The family stayed at the Glen Hotel in Arranmore, bringing with them their very own dry plate camera. They recorded their holiday as well as everyday life on the island and captured how the island looked before the modern era. This is the perfect afternoon activity to step back in time after a morning exploring the island. Further details available here.

9. Templenaskellig: A Hidden Gem

One of Glendalough’s seven churches, the often missed Templenaskellig is located on the upper south lake and is only accessible by boat. This event will bring Templenaskellig to the visitor, showcasing images, illustrations, excavation reports, maps and much more to finally make this beautiful church accessible to all. Open throughout heritage week, why not get the family together and take the opportunity to visit Glendalough and experience this event. Further details available here.

10. Achill Tales of Drama and Trauma, Co Mayo

Why not visit Achill Island this Heritage Week? One of Ireland’s most impressive island landscapes, with towering cliffs and stunning beaches. Immerse yourself in nineteenth-century Achill history through storyboards, folklore and an island heritage tour, including startling and dramatic island narratives. Join Patricia Byrne for Achill Tales of Drama and Trauma in the Achill Experience Centre in Keel on Monday, 19th August. Further details available here.

National Heritage Week will take place from 17th – 25th August 2019 with a wide array of events happening across Ireland, come and see what's on near you.

Cover photo courtesy of the Ellen Hutchins Festival.


Our top 10 Heritage Week 2019 event picks with a focus on music and instruments.

Music has remained one of Ireland’s favourite pastimes, from ancient times, to the Georgians, to the present day. This year’s National Heritage Week programme has plenty in store for those with a musical ear, with a wide range of options to suit every taste, and some wonderful days out for the whole family to enjoy!

Join in with your own musical talents or just sit back and listen. Here are our 10 ten musical picks from across the country which we think hit the right note.


Pastimes | Past Times – 10 Heritage Week events that answer the 2019 theme.

This year the theme for National Heritage Week is Pastimes | Past Times. This theme gives a unique look at how our ancestors spent their time, from medieval battle to Victorian fern collecting, and everything in between. See how these pastimes have changed over time, or in some cases, how they have not changed at all.

Come along to Heritage Week 2019 and immerse yourself in a fascinating look at the past.

1 . Themed Tour: Pastimes in Past Times in the National Botanical Gardens

Take a themed tour through the National Botanical Gardens in Glasnevin Dublin and discover the plants our ancestors used for weaving. Check out how the Victorian craze of fern-collecting affected the fern fields of Ireland. See what sort of things people from Ireland past collected in their gardens. The tour, which runs on Saturday, 17th and Saturday, 24th August from 2.30pm to 4pm, will be a fascinating look at plant-related hobbies and pastimes in times past. Further details are available here.

2. 18th and 19th Century Pastimes at Maynooth University’s Russell Library

The Russell Library at Maynooth University will host an exciting exhibition from its 18th and 19th century collections. This exhibition will feature a number of different pastimes including travel, painting, art, drawing, craftsmanship, pottery and sewing. Tours will take place on Monday 19th, Wednesday 21st, and Thursday 22nd August from 10am to 5pm. This promises to be an excellent opportunity to see some of the libraries special collection. Further details are available here.

3. Play like a Viking at Kerry County Museum

Would you like to partake in a Viking Hnefatafl tournament, play Nine Men's Morris and find out all about toys and games in the Middle Ages? Be a Wild Child and play like a Viking at Kerry County Museum. This fun, and interactive, event for kids will embrace their wild side allowing them to learn about our most fierce ancestors. The event will take place on Wednesday, 21st August from 10am to 4pm. Further details are available here.

4. Traditional Craft Demonstrations in Gavin Duffy Park, Monaghan

Step back in time and enjoy all the old traditional skills including stone masonry, carrick lace, glass making, basket weaving, story-telling and blacksmithing. This is an excellent opportunity to see these skills in action and experience a first-hand look at what kept our ancestors busy. Demonstrations will take place on Thursday, 22nd August from 10am to 4pm in the Gavin Duffy Park, Monaghan. Further details are available here.

5. Irish History Live Show in Co Laois

Explore history in a fun and interactive show with historian Michael Moylan. This hugely entertaining show will bring to life the Middle Ages, the Vikings and the Normans. Children can participate in the show using period costume, weapons and artefacts. The show will take place on Wednesday, 21st August from 12.30pm to 1.30pm and promises be a fun afternoon for everyone. Further details are available here.

6. Ogham Workshop at Knowth, Co Meath

Did you know that ogham inscriptions are found in both the Eastern and Western tombs at Knowth? Have a go at writing in the ogham script on the 3D blackboard and enjoy a great interactive experience for the whole family, set against the wonderful backdrop of one of Ireland’s most magical historical sites. The workshop will take place on Sunday, 25th August from 2pm to 4pm. Further details are available here.

7. Dancing at the Crossroads in Carrick-on-Suir

Dancing at the crossroads was a very popular social past time in Ireland up to the 1950's. This event, to be held in the garden of Nell's Farm House, will re-enact the dancing at the crossroads. The programme will include set dances, line dances and waltzes. Guests will be invited to sing or tell a story and to enter into the spirit of the times by dressing for the era. Make sure you bring your dancing shoes for this event, which take place on Saturday, 17th August from 8pm to 10.30pm. Further details are available here.

8. Warriors & Hurlers Children’s Event at Croke Park

On this access all areas tour of Croke Park, young GAA fans will get a chance to follow in the footsteps of their sporting heroes, whilst also learning about Ireland’s greatest hurler, legend and warrior, Cú Chulainn, in a special, hands-on ‘Warriors and Hurlers’ workshop. Recommended for 7-10-year-olds, this event will present a great mix of history and sport which is sure to be great fun for all. The tour takes place on Wednesday, 21st August from 11.30am to 1.30pm. Further details are available here.

9. Heritage Live at Dún na Sí Amenity and Heritage Park, Moate

Leave the modern world behind and join this event at Dún na Sí as they bring heritage buildings and attractions to life, with real people living and working as they would have in rural Ireland. Watch as some of the forgotten skills of Ireland long ago are recreated. This family friendly, day-long event takes place on Tuesday, 20th August from 10am to 5pm. Further details are available here.

10. Sailors, Smugglers and Yeats at Rosses Point, Sligo

A guided walk through Rosses Point listening to stories and lore about its maritime tradition. Hear all about the activities of smuggler John Black and the influence of the village on the art and writings of the Yeats family. A great event, sure to appeal to the sailors, smugglers and writers in all of us. The walk commences at 3pm on Sunday, 18th August from the meeting point at Harry's Bar, Rosses Point. Further details are available here.

National Heritage Week will take place from 17th – 25th August 2019 with a wide array of events happening across Ireland, come and see what's on near you.

Cover photo courtesy of the National Botanical Gardens.


Almost 1,500 events submitted for Heritage Week 2019

Almost 1,500 events have been submitted to date and we would like to say a big ‘thank you’ to all individuals, local community groups and institutions who are organising workshops, tours, performances, walks, exhibitions, festivals and other exciting events for National Heritage Week 2019.

While the deadline for inclusion in the printed event guide has now passed, event registration for our website listings will remain open until the start of Heritage Week in August. Register your event here.

Heritage Week 2019 will take place from Saturday, 17th – Sunday, 25th August and this year's theme is Pastimes | Past Times. We invite you to take a stroll through history and explore how our free time has evolved in often fascinating ways.

Coordinated by the Heritage Council, Heritage Week is Ireland’s most popular cultural event and in 2019, almost half a million people are expected to participate in heritage events throughout the country. National Heritage Week forms part of European Heritage Days, which promote Europe’s common cultural heritage.

Find out more about events in your locality on our What’s On page, and keep an eye on our website – we will share more details about this year’s fantastic array of Heritage Week events and other useful information over the coming weeks. You can also sign up to the Heritage Week newsletter here.