A spotlight on 10 workshop events to get hands-on with this Heritage Week

Take the opportunity this National Heritage Week to explore the many workshops and craft events taking place across the country. This is a great opportunity to learn something new or show off your existing skills. Grown ups and kids alike are encouraged to get hands-on with the range of events on offer, from spoon carving, to research, to dry wall building.

Here are just some of our workshop Heritage Week picks, so roll up your sleeves this August and get involved.

1. Hand-weaving and Darning, Co Cork

When we think of hand-weaving and darning, we see them as pastimes, however these traditional home economies were once necessities of life. Instead of saying goodbye to that favourite jumper with a hole, learn how to be sustainable yourself by darning your own items of clothing. Join Gerda and Maggie on Tuesday, 20th August from 2pm – 4pm at Nano Nagle Place and discover the heritage of handweaving and darning crafts. Further details available here.

2. Dry Stone Wall Building Restoration, Co Donegal

This is a fantastic opportunity to witness the tradition of dry stone wall building in action. Join local expert Patsy McInaw, who will also talk about the history of stone mining in the area and some of the different methods of building a dry stone wall. The restoration of the 'Famine wall' at Salthill is an ongoing project on which Patsy has been involved for a few years, ably assisted by local volunteers and this is your chance to get involved on Saturday, 17th July from 2pm – 5pm. Further details available here.

3. Straw Craft Workshop for Children, Co Laois

Bring the little ones along to this wonderful straw craft workshop, where they will learn all about the history and tradition of straw craft, and how to make a straw craft good luck charm to take home? This event includes a display of straw items from around the world, from baskets and cradles to mummer’s masks, variations of St. Brigid’s crosses and corn dollies. Book a place today and come along to Portarlington Library on Friday, 23rd August from 3pm – 4pm. Further details available here.

4. Craft Skills Open Day, Co Offaly

A jam packed public open day at the Tullynisk Farm Buildings, organised by SPAB Ireland takes place on Sunday, 25th August from 10am – 1pm. Come along for a morning of traditional craft demonstrations, talks from local history groups, and much more. There will also be a chance to see the craft repair work completed by volunteers during the SPAB working party. Further details available here.

5. Mugshots and Spinning Tops, Co Waterford

Visit Reginald’s Tower on the quays of Waterford City this Heritage Week for a prison-themed children's workshop. During their visit, kids will have their mugshot taken, and are at risk of being convicted of a crime and being sentenced to hard labour for their crimes. This hard labour will include making spinning Tops, thraumatropes and button spinners. This promises to be a great day out for the whole family. Full details, including dates and times are available here.

6. Research Workshop at the National Library of Ireland, Dublin City

Visit the National Library of Ireland (NLI) for an afternoon and learn how to access and navigate the library’s extensive national collection for research. The workshop will draw on case studies of personalities from the NLI’s collections and is suitable for anyone looking to embark on a research project or to enhance research skills in navigating the catalogue, accessing the various collections and interpreting the sources. The workshop which takes place on Monday, 19th August from 3pm – 4.30pm is suitable for those who are using the library for the first time. Booking is required so make sure not to miss out. Further details available here.

7. Spoon Carving Workshop, Co Kerry

As we all try to be more environmentally conscious, what better way to make your personal green contribution than to learn how to make your own cutlery. Join experienced craftsman Pete Barnard in the Muckross Schoolhouse on Friday, 23rd August from 2pm – 4pm and learn the basic hand-carving techniques. Create a simple spatula or spreader from locally sourced materials. This family friendly event is a great opportunity to pick up a new skill. Further details available here.

8. Homecrafts Day in Moate, Co Westmeath

Over two fun filled days you can learn a whole host of crafts, from cooking to sewing to jewellery making. There’s a craft for everyone to get involved with, and a chance to chat and discuss your favourite crafts over a yummy lunch. The sessions will run on Saturday, 17th and Monday, 19th August from 10am – 4pm at the Caraiosa Centre, Bishopstown. Places are limited so make sure not to miss out. Further details available here.

9. Genealogy Masterclass, Co Kilkenny

Do you want to find out more about your ancestors? Knowing where to start can be a daunting experience, so why not come along to a one-to-one introduction session to the genealogical sources available in Kilkenny Local Studies Department. The sessions run from 9.30am – 4.30pm on Monday, 19th August. Further details available here.

10. The Lost Words Art & Craft Workshop, Co Tipperary

Did you know that many everyday nature words have been removed from some children dictionaries because they are no longer being used? This magical nature themed workshop aims to bring back some of these lost words, such as acorn and wren. Call by John’s Tower at Roscrea Castle on Saturday, 24th August between 2pm – 5pm and join in what promises to be a fun filled workshop for all little nature lovers, 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 Trustees of Muckross House Ltd.