18 May 2022

Open the Door to Laois Heritage during National Heritage Week

Great line up on online and in person events

Open the Door to Laois Heritage during National Heritage Week

Karen Dempsey leads a tour of Lea Castle during Heritage Week. Picture: Alf Harvey

A wide range of online and in person events are taking place across Laois and indeed across Ireland to celebrate this year’s National Heritage Week, which takes place from August 14th to August 22nd.

Organised by the Heritage Council, National Heritage Week is one of Ireland’s largest cultural events.

Running from Saturday 14 until Sunday 22 August, National Heritage Week 2021 will follow the same format as last year. Local heritage groups, organisers, families and communities have developed projects relating to any aspect of Ireland’s built, cultural or natural heritage, and these will be showcased online and in some cases at in person events (with all public health precautions observed).

“We want to get more people involved in National Heritage Week this year,” said Catherine Casey, Heritage Officer with Laois County Council.

“It’s a great opportunity for us all to find out more about the skills, wisdom and knowledge that older members of the community have and to share in the joy of exploring and looking after heritage places that mean so much to local communities, whether that’s local wildlife areas, graveyards, or artefacts that are part of the story of the town, like the Portlaoise Plane.

“We want to encourage everyone to look into and enjoy the heritage in their immediate vicinity,” she said

Laois Libraries Events

Laois Libraries are organising a number of online workshops for children including the ever-popular Irish History Live with Michael Moylan, who uses costumes, artefacts and a strong sense of fun to bring alive the history of Ireland and the people and events that have shaped our county.

Libraries at Abbeyleix, Mountrath and Mountmellick are running free town heritage trails, a fun and interactive way for children to learn about the fascinating history and heritage of their town – collect the worksheets from each library and drop back the completed sheet to be in with a chance towin a small prize. Contact for all enquiries, or see Laois Libraries on Facebook.

Digit Kids have two online workshops on Irish Archaeology for children too, one on Round Towers of Laois on August 17th and the other on the Castles of Laois on August 19th, both starting at 11am.

Booking is required for these fun, free workshops – check out for details.

The Big Dig with the School of Irish Archaeology

In keeping with the theme of “Heritage for all” the children’s archaeology workshop “The Big Dig” has two autism-friendly session at the playground at Abbeyleix Heritage House on Saturday 21st August.

These sessions have been reserved for autistic children and their families and will allow hands on exploration of the tools and techniques of archaeology in an inclusive and welcoming environment.

See Laois Heritage Office on Facebook for booking.

Bulfin Heritage Cycle

This year’s cycle takes the theme “LAOIS LORE - Lords & Legacies” on Saturday August 21st, as part of National Heritage Week. Participants will cycle out from Durrow visiting Granstown Lake, Abbeyleix, Clough and Ballygeehan, and returning to Durrow that evening.

The event will be for One Day only, will be 100% outdoors and will be confined to just 20 cyclists, on a first-come, first-served basis.

You can register your interest to participate in this year’s Bulfin Heritage Cycle Rally, by emailing or by phone on 086 869 4691

Heritage Week Awards

The Heritage Council has announced details of the National Heritage Week Awards 2021, which will recognise successful heritage projects showcased during this year’s National Heritage Week. Included in the seven award categories is a county award which recognise the best heritage project in each county.

The county award category will recognise those projects that promote awareness of, and engagement with heritage in the community.

The winners in each county will have maximised the involvement of a community in the project development or execution and increased awareness of an aspect of heritage in a community. Project organisers might choose to create something unique, or to build on an existing heritage project, or heritage networks in a community.

In addition to county awards, this year’s awards will have prizes for Heritage Hero, Heritage newcomers, Heritage sharing, Heritage for all ages, Water Heritage, Wild Child. All participants who successfully upload a heritage project on the National Heritage Week website by Monday, 30th August 2021 will be considered for a National Heritage Week Award.

Projects will be assessed on the basis of their local reach and community engagement, educational value and the level to which they involve different age groups.

A judging panel, convened by the Heritage Council, will consider submitted heritage projects for awards under the categories listed above. Awards will be announced in October 2020. For full details of all events happening in Laois for Heritage Week see Events and projects across the whole country for the week are at .

Heritage Week is coordinated in Ireland by the Heritage Council supported by the Department of Housing, Local Government and Heritage, in association with Fáilte Ireland.

At county level, National Heritage Week is co-ordinated and supported by Local Authority Heritage Officers, with numerous local community based heritage groups and organisations. 

For updates on Heritage Week events please see

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