Ballyhoura Heritage Week

With National Heritage Week taking place across Ireland from Saturday 14th August to Sunday 22nd August, Ballyhoura Country is marking this vibrant celebration of Ireland’s culture with a jam-packed schedule of free events celebrating the region’s history, art, heritage and biodiversity. With a range of indoor and outdoor activities–plenty of them family-oriented for those on staycations–there is something to pique everyone’s interest in the beautiful Golden Vale of Munster.

From JFK to Éamon de Valera, it’s safe to say that Ballyhoura’s rich connection to the past is everywhere you look. Bruff is a town rich in local heritage and culture and is also the ancestral home of the famous Fitzgerald Kennedy clan. To dive deeper into the town’s story, local renowned historian Tommy Meany is hosting a 'Bridging Bruff's Past and Present' Tour on Tuesday 177th August at 7.30pm, in which he will engage, beguile and educate his audience with facts, folklore and lots of interesting anecdotes! It starts and finishes at the Church of Ireland, beside Morning Star River.

On Thursday 19th August, Ruairí Ó Conchúir (LAWPRO) will lead a Walk and Talk on the Morning Star River at 7.30pm. The event, Water Is Life, will focus on the themes of local biodiversity, water quality and how to support your local river. This family-friendly event will include an exploration of instream and riparian (riverbank) biodiversity and will include kick sampling of macro-invertebrates, and a discussion on the habitat enhancement plans for the Morning Star.

This is followed by a 9pm Walk and Talk by Maurice Lyons about bats, and how to identify them.

Booking for all Bruff events is via email BGMCouncil@gmail.com or DM to Bruff Community Page on Facebook.

Going back further in the mists of time, the ‘enchanted’ Lough Gur –a horseshoe-shaped lake bounded on three sides by hills, is home to Gearóid Iarla, who was banished to the bottom of the lake by the goddess Áine, returning once every seven years to try to break the curse.

There’s FREE entry to the Lough Gur Visitor Centre Exhibition on 14th & 15th August, where you can find out more about the area’s rich folklore and wealth of archaeology.

Another free event in collaboration with LAWPRO will be an exploration of the Biodiversity of Lough Gur; this takes place at 11am on Wed 18th August and booking is HERE.

Come explore the biodiversity of this amazing site where Lough Gur rests between the two large wetland areas associated with the lake, the Lake Bog to the south-east and Red Bog to the south and the surrounding hills. The event will outline the importance of Lough Gur in terms of biodiversity and habitat type. Participants will be led on a voyage of discovery through the site and children will be encouraged to become nature detectives. They will learn about, and discover, shoreline biodiversity and pond dipping and Leave No Trace. Bring footwear and clothing appropriate for the weather and the site conditions. Free refreshments after the event.

If Kilmallock’s walls could talk, they’d surely have some intriguing tales to tell! The Norman castle dates from 1206, but nearby Neolithic house ruins, were built by locals some 5,000 years ago! This historically-rich medieval town was a major centre for religion, trade and commerce, as well as the political stronghold of the Earls of Desmond. Many medieval buildings survive, creating a unique urban landscape.

On Thursday 19th August, Kilmallock Tourism will organise a Walking Tour of Kilmallock at 7pm, taking you on the Priory Walk, the West Wall Walk and all the main heritage sites that this historic town has to offer; it will start from King’s Castle at 7pm.

On Wednesday 18th August, kids and families are being encouraged to drop the devices, jump off the couch and get outdoors to explore the heritage in the Kilmallock locality for Wild Child Day!

On Wednesday 18st August between 3-5 pm, Deebert House Hotel will be hosting a Family Heritage Hunt exploring the walks and heritage around Kilmallock. Prizes and ice-cream on the day for all taking part.

To book all Kilmallock events, contact Margaret in Deebert House Hotel on 063-31200.

Kilfinane may be a small market town of just over 700 people, but it is the highest town in all of Limerick at an elevation of 150m. It was once a seat of the Kings of Munster, as well as being historical hotspots of both the 1798 Rebellion and Cromwell’s invasion.

During Heritage Week, you can do a self-guided Historic Walking Tour of Kilfinane or a Photographic Hunt of landmarks around the town (free maps for both).

On the 15th August, there’ll be a 2-hour Guided Walk of Kilfinane and Ballyriggan and one on the 22nd August, investigating ecology in the river.

For Kilfinane bookings, contact Louise MacAvin at 087-2706301.

Knockainey is a small rural community of approx 700 people, in south-east Limerick, between the villages of Hospital and Bruff, and Lough Gur is within the parish.

For National Heritage Week, scholar and author Dr Donncha MacGabhann is offering 'guided tours' of the Book of Kells (using the Verlag facsimile which is an exact copy of the manuscript) at St John's Church, Knockainey, Co. Limerick.

The 'guided tour' begins with a general introduction to the background of the Book of Kells and continues by looking at the main features of the manuscript.

Event Details: Monday, 16th August to Friday, 20th August, 7.00-8.30 pm

Please email to book: donnmacgabhann@gmail.com Group maximum: 5 people.

Staying with Cork, Mitchelstown is one of the oldest towns in the north of the county and derives its name from Norman family of Fitzdavid de St. Michel who founded the town in the 11th century. Noted as a market-town, the Thursday markets, granted by Royal Charter in 1618, continue to this day. The town has a wide range of free cultural events for Heritage Week.

From 14th-21st August, the library will host a Historical Community Display in conjunction with online talks about the Mitchelstown community area and within the Galtee vales.

In addition, Fáilte Ireland guide, renowned genealogist and Mitchelstown resident, Séamus Fox, will lead the Town guided tour on Saturday 21st August @11:30am until 1:30pm starting from the Clongibbon House Hotel.

For genealogy enthusiasts, Séamus will be exploring fun family trees, homestead tours, clan gatherings, citizenship application, heir-hunting of lost cousins who died intestate, and more, while Gaelic Games fans will love the display of Gaelic games, hurling, handball as well as road bowling, stone-throwing, weight throwing, skittles and croquet. Séamus’ events can be booked on seamusfox365@gmail.com or 087-3589734.

Giving a New Lease of Life to Saint George's

Staying in Mitchelstown you will have an opportunity to join a Walk and Talk around the ongoing conservation and restoration works at Saint George's Arts and Heritage Centre, a former Church of Ireland church dating to 1801, on Tuesday 17th August 7:30 pm.

This will be the public's first opportunity to visit the building since it was re-roofed over the past year.

Saint George's Arts and Heritage Centre was established in a former church in 2019 and is currently completing phase one of a major restoration which has included re-roofing, window and door restorations, plastering and providing new facilities such as disability access and office space. The building has recently been redecorated, all memorials have been restored, and other works to provide disability access and toilet facilities are underway. During this walk and talk, you will hear about the joy, passion and patience required when restoring a 220-year-old building in need of a lot of TLC. By the end of 2021, there will be €500,000 spent on the building. No small feat in a time of pandemic.

Meet at the entrance to Saint George's, George Street, Mitchelstown P67 XC61; brigownspire@gmail.com

Charleville Town is situated on the north eastern slope of a ridge of land known in ancient Ireland as Drom Iomnacht in the Barony of Kilmore and Orrery. It is a thriving market town set among the lush agricultural pastureland of the Golden Vales in North Cork in the heart of Munster.

During the National Heritage Week, Charleville Heritage Society will be holding an Outdoor Pop Up Museum in Charleville town Plaza on Saturday 14th of August 2021 from 10am to 2pm.

A brand new 3D artist impression of Kiltoohig moated site will be unveiled. This site is thought to be from the 13th century. It's a great day out for the whole family, and it's a great way for people of all ages to discover something new about Charleville. On the day, a brand new historical Charleville booklet will be distributed for free, along with some free children's colouring books.

When considering Ireland’s most beautiful estates, it’s hard to look past the stunning Doneraile Court and Estate, in north Cork. Built by the first Viscount Doneraile in the 1720s, it was modified extensively in the 19th century creating the imposing and characterful building that can be enjoyed today.

The estate and surrounding village have a strong literary tradition, incorporating figures such as Edmund Spenser–who immortalised the adjoining River Awbeg in his poem The Faerie Queene–the novelist Elizabeth Bowen, and Canon Sheehan.

Doneraile Court & Gardens is open to the public from Thursdays-Mondays, and all tours are free.

Also happening in Doneraile from 12th-15th August is the Doneraile ArtFest.

Those with a keen eye on local biodiversity will be interested in the Maigue Rivers Trust’s Family Fun Day in Granagh - "Getting to know the Glasha River" - on Friday 20th August from 12pm - 3pm in Granagh Village.

Meet with the Maigue Rivers Trust & Inland Fisheries Ireland for a family fun day to find out more about the Glasha River and what lives in the River.

  • Pond dipping
  • Nature Walk
  • Nature Drawing
  • Farming beside the River
  • Advice on how to protect the river habitat

The Maigue River Trust invites you to celebrate the online launch, on August 17th at 7-8pm, of the report: An Exploration of the Recreation & Amenity Potential of the Maigue River”.

Register on info@maigueriverstrust.ie or DM Maigue Rivers Trust Facebook

If you fancy a ramble through the rolling hills of Ballyhoura Country, look no further than the Ballyhoura Bears Walking Club.

Check out their Heritage Week walk schedule here; the walks are free, you just need to contact the organisers (Jim Flynn 087-2833456) in advance to let them know you’ll be joining them