Experience Ireland’s Fascinating Cultural and Natural Heritage at Ballyhoura Heritage Week 2023

We all live hectic lifestyles nowadays, with the pressures of being constantly connected and being always on-the-go. What better way to take a welcome break from our fast-paced lives than to take a journey through Ireland’s rich history and nature with National Heritage Week, taking place across Ireland from August 12th – 20th.

Ballyhoura Country is marking National Heritage Week with a jam-packed schedule of free events taking place throughout the region between August 14th – 19th, which will offer fascinating glimpses of times past and a host of captivating experiences.

Highlights of the week-long event will include bilingual storytelling sessions, craft fairs and blacksmithing demonstrations, along with historical tours, insect walks and open days at enchanting cottages. Heritage Week will also feature highly anticipated talks by renowned storyteller and Seanchaí Eddie Lenihan and celebrated writer Manchán Magan.

With a full programme of enticing events, there’s something for everyone to explore and enjoy and make lasting memories exploring the wonders of the past and the beauty of the present.

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Insect Walk in Doneraile Park

13th August, 3-5pm Doneraile Wildlife Park, Co. Cork

Explore the diverse habitats at an enthralling Insect Walk at Doneraile Wildlife Park, guided by knowledgeable insect specialist, John O’Sullivan. The park, which supports a wide variety of insect species, offers a unique opportunity to gain insights into the importance of insects in our ecosystem and appreciate the wonders of nature on our doorstep.



Lecture on the History of the Ryan Clan

14th August, 8-9.15pm Cappamore Community Centre, Portnard, Cappamore, Co. Limerick

Hosted by the Cappamore Historical Society, this captivating lecture will delve into the history of the Ryan Clan between 1200 and 1700, exploring their place in medieval Ireland. The lecture will be presented by Derek Ryan, chairperson of the Arra Historical and Archaeology Society, and will provide valuable insights into the intriguing history of this renowned Irish clan.



Knockderk – A Storied Hill in the Lough Gur District

14th August, 7.30-8.30pm Lough Gur Visitors’ Centre, Lough Gur, Bruff, Co. Limerick, V35 ED96

Local historian and tour guide Brian Collopy will explore Knockderk, a hill located close to the renowned Lough Gur in Co. Limerick. The story of Knockderk stretches back into deep prehistory, with evidence of human activity beginning in the Neolithic period. Of interest to geologists, botanists and folklorists, and for anyone interested in our past, and our links with the landscape, all aspects of Knockderk will be explored in this free talk.



The Book of Kells: ‘Up Close and Personal’

14th-19th August, 7-8.30pm St. John’s Church, Knockainey, Co. Limerick, V35 HA89

Enjoy this unforgettable ‘up close and personal’ guided tour of the Book of Kells, the greatest masterpiece of Ireland’s Golden Age. Donncha MacGabhann, MA, PhD, will share his expertise using the Verlag Facsimile, an exact and complete copy of the ancient manuscript. This interactive experience allows visitors to explore and understand the intricate details of the Book of Kells in an immersive manner, offering a unique opportunity to get closer to the beauty and significance of one of Ireland’s most treasured historical artifacts.

These events are ideal for individuals, small groups (4-5) or families, and are organised in conjunction with the Knockainey Historical and Conservation Society. To reserve places, contact [email protected]. For more information, visit https://www.sidestone.com/books/?q=book+of+kells.


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Busy Bees Children’s Honeybee Workshop

16th August, 11.15-12pm Lough Gur Visitors’ Centre, Lough Gur, Bruff, Co. Limerick, V35 ED96

Aimed at children aged between 6 and 10, the Busy Bees Children’s Honeybee Workshop is an interactive workshop, giving children an introduction to our native honeybee and highlighting their importance as a pollinator and keystone species in the Irish ecosystem. Children will have the opportunity to see Lough Gur’s honeybee hives, and will have the chance to plant their very own bee-friendly flowers!



Stories of the Good People with Eddie Lenihan

17th August, 4-5pm Lough Gur Visitors’ Centre, Lough Gur, Bruff, Co. Limerick, V35 ED96

Master storyteller and Seanchaí Eddie Lenihan is renowned for his knowledge of myth, folklore and most especially for those tales pertaining to the Good People. Having spent a lifetime gathering these tales and stories from the ordinary people of Ireland, Eddie comes to Lough Gur share these extraordinary tales in this fascinating talk.


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Listening to the Land at Lough Gur – A talk by Manchán Magan

18th August, 2-3pm Lough Gur Visitors’ Centre, Lough Gur, Bruff, Co. Limerick, V35 ED96

Manchán Magan is one of Ireland’s leading explorers of landscape, with deeply immersive and insightful writings which offer readers real moments of revelatory understanding. His most recent work, Listen to the Land Speak, delves into the richness and complexity of the land, and our relationship to it. As an archaeologically rich and ancient place, Lough Gur features prominently in this work. The region around Lough Gur has long been associated with Áine, an ancient land goddess, and Manchán’s work offers fresh insight into this complex deity whose name has echoed around these hillsides for countless generation.

Lough Gur is delighted to welcome Manchán to the Visitor Centre as part of Heritage Week 2023 for what promises to be an insightful and fascinating talk, as he shares his wisdom and stories on the shores of this celebrated lake.



Blacksmithing Demonstration

19th August, 10am-4pm Cappamore, Co. Limerick

Experience one of Ireland’s traditional skills and delve into Ireland’s Blacksmithing heritage at the Cappamore show, where resident master blacksmith, Eric O’Neill, will be hosting a captivating Blacksmithing Demonstration. Learn about the country’s rich history of blacksmithing and it’s applications, and witness this skilful craft first-hand.

For those who are interested in delving even deeper, a free introduction to Blacksmithing week will be offered at the College of Further Education and Training, Cappamore Campus between August 14th-17th, 9am-2pm. Places for this introduction are limited to seven students, and those interested can register here: https://www.fetchcourses.ie/course/finder?sfcw-courseId=402725


Bridgets Day

Bilingual Storytelling in Cantonese and English at St. Brigid’s Cross

19th August, 11-11.45am Mitchelstown Library, Co. Cork

Enjoy an unmissable opportunity to celebrate the story of St. Brigid’s Day, which symbolises the onset of Spring, in a different way, with a bilingual storytelling session at Mitchelstown Library. Told in both Cantonese and English, this event will narrate the intriguing tale of St. Brigid and unravel the narrative surrounding the Brigid’s Cross.

After the storytelling session, visitors can craft their own St. Brigid’s Cross using natural materials at this unique cultural experience.


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Barn Owls of Ballyhoura

20th August, 10am-1pm Griston Bog, Ballylanders, Co. Limerick

Discover the importance of Barn Owls in Ireland’s habitats during this educational event. As well as learning about the role of Barn Owls in Irish ecosystems, visitors will also be able to take part in a fun orienteering exercise, become a ‘citizen scientist’ by examining pond samples, and enjoy a ‘quiet corner’ colouring station in the bird hide.

Importantly, this event contributes to Sustainable Development Goals 13 and 15, promoting life on land and climate action.


Kile Cottage

Open Days at Killee Cottage and Anne’s Grove Miniature Castle

20th August, 10am – 4pm Killee Cottage, Mitchelstown, Co. Cork and

Anne’s Grove Miniature Castle, Castletownroche, Co. Cork

Wonder at the remarkable preservation efforts of the Irish Landmark Trust at two open days events at Killee Cottage in Mitchelstown and Anne’s Grove Miniature Castle in Castletownroche.

Experience the charm of the beautiful Killee Cottage, as you wander through the serene 19th century dwelling which has been converted into a vacation retreat.

Enjoy a self-guided tour of Anne’s Grove Miniature Castle, and marvel at this beautifully restored 19th-century miniature castle, which has now been beautifully restored and transformed into holiday accommodation.

Admission for both events is complimentary, but there are limited spaces available, so be sure to register early for a free ticket to secure your spot.



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Tours of Castlegarde Castle, Co. Limerick

Every day from 12th-20th August, Castlegarde Castle, Castlegarde, Co. Limerick

10.30am-5pm V94 E2FF

This series of daily tours are being run in association with Historic Houses of Ireland. Take a step back in time at Castlegarde Castle, Ireland’s oldest continually inhabited castle, which dates back to the 1190s. Discover the fascinating history of this stunning castle, from the reign of Donal Mór O’Brien, King of Thomond, to the gothic-style extension by the Pain Brothers in the 1800s. With a well, moat and bawn wall (and a resident ghost, the Lady in Silk!), Castlegarde Castle holds many captivating stories that are sure to entertain visitors throughout Heritage Week.


Tickets for the calendar of events and activities taking place during Ballyhoura Heritage Week 2023 can be reserved via Eventbrite.

Kilmallock Dominican Priory

Kilmallock Heritage Week

In addition, Kilmallock is hosting a Heritage Week in Medieval Kilmallock, with a range of activities planned in the area between the 14th and 19th August. These include:

Unveiling of Information Panel on the Work House and Famine

14th August, 7pm Famine Memorial Park, Kilmallock

This event marks the unveiling of the information panel on the Work House and Famine in the Famine Memorial Park by Cllr. Michael Donegal, MCC Chairman of Kilmallock & Cappamore District. The unveiling will be followed by a talk on the Work House, given by local historian Noel Collins.

Ecological & Biodiversity Survey presentation

15th August, 7pm Deebert House Hotel, Kilmallock

Dr. Tom Harrington will give an interesting presentation on the Ecological and Biodiversity survey of Kilmallock at this evening event.

Walk and Talk on Medieval Kilmallock

16th August, 7pm Kilmallock

Sarah McCutcheon, Senior Archaeologist with Limerick City & County Council will lead an educational walk and talk on Medieval Kilmallock. Meeting place for this event is at the car park at Kings Castle.

Kilmallock workhouse

Walk and Talk on Birds and Wildlife

17th August, 7pm Kilmallock

Explore the local birds and wildlife in the Kilmallock area at this walk and talk event. Meeting place for the evening is at North Bridge.

Songs with Niamh Egan and Friends

18th August, 7pm Dominican Priory, Kilmallock

Enjoy an evening of music and song in the company of Niamh Egan and Friends at the Dominican Priory in Kilmallock (weather permitting). Niamh is the Choirmaster of the local choir in Kilmallock.

Family Treasure Hunt

19th August, 7pm Kilmallock

An fun activity for all the family to enjoy, the Family Treasure Hunt will take place in Kilmallock. Meeting place for this event is at the car park at the rear of Kings Castle.

For further details n the Kilmallock Heritage Week events, contact Sinead Loftus at Kilmallock Tourism at Tel : 087-278 4601 or e-mail [email protected].

Bruff Heritage week

In addition, Bruff is hosting Heritage Week, with a range of activities:

12th August, 7pm - "Caherguillamore" at the Thomas Fitzgerald Centre - Discover new evidence on the night that shocked Ireland. Lecture by Tom Toomey.

14th August, 7pm - "Music of the Plants" a walk starting from The Grove with Marina Levitina. Marina will talk about some of the local native plants and trees, their medicinal properties and the associated plant lore. Marina Levitina is a Heritage in Schools specialist, herbalist, Forest School leader, and founder of Lough Grainey Nature Sanctuary.

17th August, 7pm - "Mysterious Monuments" at the Thomas Fitzgerald Centre - Investigate your own local area with Aine Brosnan. See what lies hidden behind the ditches, those ivy-clad walls and the history of Ballygrennan Castle. Aine is an expert in local studies, early people and ancient societies, continuity and change over time and human environments.

19th August, 7pm - "The Ghosts of Bruff" at the Thomas Fitzgerald Centre - A groundbreaking chat show as the old heroes and villains of Bruff are interviewed.

Saint Georges Heritage Week

Heritage Week 2023 Guided Walks at Saint Georges Arts & Heritage Centre in Mitchelstown

Event date:

Walk One: Thursday, 17th August at 7:30pm - "What did the Georginas ever do for us?"

Mitchelstown Heritage Society, in conjunction with Saint George's Arts and Heritage Centre, is hosting two free public guided heritage walks. Walk One will take place this Thursday, August 17th, starting at Saint George's Arts and Heritage Centre. This walk will explore Mitchelstown's Georgian Quarter with a Monty Pythonesque theme of "What have the Georgians ever done for us?" The walk is scheduled to commence at 7:30 pm.

Walk Two: Sunday, 20th August at 2:30pm - "Grigown, forgotten stories from the past"

Walk Two, titled "Brigown: Forgotten Stories from the Past," will unveil new historical and archaeological discoveries from the early Christian site. Led by Bill Power, this walk is scheduled for Sunday, August 20th, at 2:30 pm. Participants are required to meet at Brigown Abbey.

Entry fee: FREE