A rich tapestry of events is promised during Heritage Week in Laois which starts next weekend.
With events for all the family - most of them free - the organisers promise that this is the ideal time to get out and explore the built, natural and cultural heritage of Laois.
Catherine Casey, Heritage Officer with Laois County Council said “the wide range and huge number of events taking place in Laois this year is testament to the huge commitment of communities and voluntary committees across the county in celebrating their heritage as part of our shared identity and sense of place. Many of these committees have been working on their Heritage Week events since last year, and they really do deserve all of our support.”
The theme for this year’s Heritage Week is “Pastimes - Past Times” and there is a great range of events exploring and celebrating the pastimes of days gone by.
The organisers say Cormac Bowell of Sandymount Heritage in Abbeyleix has pulled out all the stops this year with a vintage football match for children (August 17), a workshop on making badges of the flags of the world (August 17 ), casting of metal toy soldiers (August 18), vintage board games at Abbeyleix Heritage House (August 21), Mountrath Library (August 22) and Portlaoise Library (August 23), code-breaking in Stradbally Library (August 23) and tales by the fireside (August 25).
Other pastimes are celebrated with the history of photography explored in Portlaoise Library, with renowned photographer Veronica Nichols and Midlands Science (August 21), an event to remember cutting turf in times past in Mountmellick (August 19), writing old Irish in Abbeyleix (August 19), the heritage of Bridge in Portlaoise library (August 22) and straw craft for children in Mountmellick and Portarlington Libraries (August 23). Michael Moylan brings back his incredibly popular “Irish History Live” show bringing the people and stories of past times to life in Libraries across the county during the week.
The ever popular Bulfin Heritage Cycle returns this year with a look at “Meandering Monks and Medieval Miles”.
There is a new addition to the event this year – for those unable to take part by High Nelly, it will be possible to go along on the tours by bus! See bulfinheritagecycle.com for all the details.
Community celebrations are an essential part of Heritage Week and this year is no exception.
A new addition for Heritage Week this year is the Twin Trees Festival in Ballinakill.
The local community have put together a wonderful array of arts, culture and heritage events.
These include 'Tour, talks and Tea', a novel mix of a guided tour of Heywood Gardens, talks on the site by experts David Averill, of the Lutyens Trust and Dr. Matthew Jebb, of the National Botanic Gardens. Other events include painting and yoga workshops, readings, flower arranging and more - See twintrees.ie for details.
The community of Kilminchy in Portlaoise is coming together to celebrate the history and heritage of the area on August 17 with a family fun day and a heritage talk in the evening.
The community of Killeshin will celebrate the built and natural heritage of the Killeshin Waterworks with guided walk by ecologist Fiona MacGowan and industrial heritage specialist Fred Hamond on Saturday, August 24.
The week also includes tours of historic properties including Stradbally Hall and the Gardens and old Church at Abbey Leix, and a walking tour of Ballykilcavan farm and Brewery.
The week features exhibitions of Mountmellick embroidery, folklore and local history at Mountmellick Library.
Emo Court hosts free guided tours of the house on both Sundays and a classical guitar concert on August 26 as well as a talk on the First Earl of Portarlington by John Stocks Powell on 21st August. See http://emocourt.ie/ for details.
Wild Child Day will be celebrated on Wednesday, August 21 with two special events for kids, Forest Fun for Families at Emo Park woods with Reconnect with Nature and Wildlife fun with Dale Treadwell at Abbeyleix Library.
A very special treat for wildlife lovers takes place on Friday, August 23 with widlife art workshops by Aga Gradnowicz and Juanita Browne at Portlaoise and Mountmellick Libraries. ooks Ireland Honour Award for Illustration 2019. These events are free, but booking is required.
This is just a taste of the events taking place during Heritage Week - for full details of all Heritage Week events in Laois, download the Laois Event Guide at www.laois.ie/heritage or pick up a printed copy in your local library or Tourist Office.
Heritage Week is co-ordinated nationally by the Heritage Council, and details of all events taking place across the country during the week are at www.heritageweek.ie.