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Walled Town Days for National Heritage Week

Athenry walled towns day

Celebrate Ireland's Walled Towns this National Heritage Week!

Founded in 2005, the Irish Walled Towns Network (IWTN) is an all-island network of historic towns that have, or had medieval town walls. There are currently 32 member towns, stretching from Bandon in the south to Derry in the north, and ranging in size from the village of Fore in Co. Westmeath to Dublin City, the nation’s capital.

Walled Town Days were introduced, in the early days of the network, as a means of encouraging and celebrating community engagement with walled town heritage, and with a view to attracting out-of-town visitors into member towns.

Almost twenty years later, some of the original Walled Town Days have grown into week-long festivals, and new events emerge each year, supported by the IWTN’s Interpretation & Events grants programme.

Some of the flagship events for 2023 are:

Bandon Walled Town Festival

Getting into Heritage Week proper, the West Cork town plays host to a full programme of events running from 12-20 August. These include walled town walks, a history lecture series, music and performance and the very popular Family Fun Day on Sunday 20th August. Like Youghal, this will include historical re-enactments and demonstrations, as well as circus skills, a puppet show, road bowling and all sorts of other entertainment – with plenty of opportunities for visitors to get involved.

For more see: https://www.bandonhistory.com/...

Where past meets present: Stories from Athlone Castle

Athlone Castle has a fantastic programme of events running from 13-20 August. This will feature a new temporary exhibition, Stories from Athlone Castle, based on the oral histories of people who lived within the walls of the castle before it was developed as a visitor attraction. Storm the Castle on Wednesday 16 August is an annual open day, featuring a medieval town market, traditional crafts, re-enactments and traditional games.
For more see: https://www.athlonecastle.ie/e...

Wexford’s Walled Town Medieval Day 2023

Wexford’s Walled Town Day takes place in the shadow of the medieval town wall – at the Westgate Tower/Heritage Centre - on Saturday 12 August in 2023. This year will see a focus on living history with Fingal Living History Society, falconry displays, the Big Dig and much more.

For more see: local press and social media.

Athenry Walled Town Day 2023

Athenry’s Walled Town Day is one of the flagship events for the network and has been running since 2006. The festival takes place on Sunday 13 August in 2023. It is hugely popular with both locals and visitors alike. Athenry Walled Towns Day is designed to be inclusive, accessible, fun and free for all to attend. The programme reflects the medieval history of Athenry and the event is a platform for local craft and artisan food producers to showcase their products.

For more see: https://www.facebook.com/AthenryHeritage/

Loughrea Medieval Festival 2023

Another of the longest running IWTN festivals, Loughrea Medieval Festival traditionally rounds out Heritage Week, falling on the 25-27 August this year. The festival includes the annual Loughrea medieval conference, as well as all of the traditional crafts, re-enactments and entertainment that make it such a popular family weekend. They will be running a talk about Loughrea during National Heritage Week as well.

For more see: https://www.facebook.com/loughreamedievalfestival

Youghal Medieval Festival

Youghal’s Medieval Festival traditionally takes place on the weekend before Heritage Week, and falls on the 6th August this year. The programme for 2023 includes battle re-enactments, amazing costumes, medieval village living and falconry. Children’s favourite “The Big Dig” archaeological dig is back by popular demand and there will be food stalls, guided tours, arts and crafts and musical entertainment to suit visitors of all ages.For more see: https://youghal.ie/event/yough...

As well as these big Walled Town Festivals, there are a huge variety of Heritage Week events taking place in all of the network member towns. Keep an eye on heritageweek.ie as well as local press and social media for details.

The IWTN is funded by the Heritage Council and delivered in partnership with local authorities and community groups. For more information see: irishwalledtownsnetwork.ie or contact: iwtn@heritagecouncil.ie