National Heritage Week takes place nationwide from tomorrow (Saturday, August 17) until August 25. There are hundreds of events taking place across the country as part of the initiative, and it’s a similar story in Offaly where just under 40 events - many of them free - have been arranged for heritage enthusiasts of all ages.
A free fun heritage day event will take place in Lough Boora Parklands on August 17 from noon until 4pm, with all welcome to meet at the pavilion for games, nature walks, cycle tours and treasure hunts.
Charleville Castle meanwhile will be thrown open from 1pm to 5pm on August 24, while on August 25 the Clonbullogue Stream Threshing Gathering will take place.
Geashill Church of Ireland church will be the venue for a summer concert on August 21 at 5pm, with classical music performed by students of the International Summer Music School. Music will also be available as part of Heritage Week on August 22 at Tullamore Rugby Club and a showcase concert will take place in Birr Theatre and Arts Centre on August 24.
Free guided tours of the Georgian Coralanty Houes in Shinrone will be available between 2pm and 6pm every day during Heritage Week. Free guided tours of the Mill Conservation Project and gardens at Fancroft Mill meanwhile will be available between 10.30am and 1pm every day from August 19 until August 25.
Ballindoolin House and Gardens near Edenderry can be explored at a cost between noon and 6pm from August 19 until August 25, while a charge will also be incurred at Belmont Mill for visitors who can attend between 1pm and 5pm on August 17, 18, 21, 22, 23, 24 and 25. Birr Castle will also be open to the public - albeit at a cost - during the week between 9am and 6pm.
Offaly libraries are very much on board with National Heritage Week, and events have been arranged for many of the county’s libraries throughout the week. Those aged under twelve can take part in a National Treasure Quest in Tullamore library during the course of the week. An exhibition of photographs of Clara taken during the 1900s will be on display at Clara library during opening hours, while Edenderry library will display an exhibition of Irish Times articles from the 1913 Lockout.
Meanwhile on August 20 between 11.30am and 12.30pm the Offaly Famine Stitch will be at Edenderry library. On August 20 at 4pm there will be an introductory talk on genealogy with Susan Chadwick at Clara library, while the same talk will be delivered at Tullamore library from 6.30pm and a genealogy clinic will take place in Tullamore library from 10am to 1pm on August 21. On August 24 at 3pm there will be a free look on what local history resources are available at Tullamore library in an events called “Bits and Bytes”.
Walks looking at local biodiversity systems will be delivered as part of Heritage Week all over Offaly. Walks will take place in Edenderry and Clonbullogue on August 18, in Birr on August 23, in Geashill and Tullamore on August 24 and in Ferbane and Tubber on August 25.
A free walking tour of the British Military Fortifications at Shannonbridge will be held at 2pm on August 24, while a free guided walk will take place from O’Connor Square to the Tullamore Dew Visitors Centre from 2.30pm on August 25.
Clara Bog Visitor Centre is central to Offaly events as part of Heritage Week. On August 19 and 23 tours of Clara Bog will leave from the centre at 11am. A mini-ranger day will take place from 11am to 2.30pm on August 21, while an archaeology event for children called “Dirt Diggers” will take place there on August 22.
Also on August 22 the centre will host an evening lecture at 8pm looking at the social history of Clara. On August 23 a free family film wil be shown at 3pm, while children can enjoy wildlife and art in a session from 10am until noon on August 24. On August 25 the visitor centre will be the venue for a “Herbs on the Bog” talk by medical herbalists Emmet Walsh and Therese Kelly.
Other talks taking place as part of the week include recollections of a former station master at Tullamore’s Research Centre on Bury Quay at 8pm on August 22 and a talk on the Royal visits of Queen Victoria to Ireland in Edenderry parish centre at 7.30pm on August 23.