Take part in a Europe wide celebration of our heritage
Can you keep a secret? Ireland’s sunniest weather isn’t May, June or July: it’s August. Don’t ask us why, but for some reason, on the cusp of summer and autumn, things get sunny. Castles are lit up with hot pink sunsets, the Atlantic is nicely warmed for a dip or a paddle and long country walks get that little bit longer.
And as if a month of basking in sun on grand estates, gardens or beaches didn’t make August sweet enough, there’s more…
Heritage Week 2013
While EU member countries host their own annual European Heritage Days, the Republic of Ireland has turned it into a whole week (17-25 August). Free events, concession rates on heritage sites and a full-on experience of Ireland’s history. And there’s no finer way to engage with a country’s history than this.
Each year, events range from medieval fairs, night-time bat walks, wildlife walks and lectures, to classical music and poetry recitals, traditional music sessions, storytelling, historical re-enactments and local history walks and talks.
What’s the story?
“The theme for the Week is ‘Discover the Past. Build the Future’ because we believe that heritage is about today, about our quality of life and about the things we value,” according to Isabell Smyth from the Heritage Council.
We tend to agree.
A host of events
With so much going on, you could be overwhelmed by choice so we’ve picked out some absolute crackers that are a must see. At Glendalough in Wicklow, for instance, you can take the same guided walk as the US First Lady Michelle Obama and her daughters did when they visited the 6th century monastic site. Or you could dress up as a Viking and wander around their former territory in Dublin city’s fascinating Dublinia. An Bun Beag Beach in County Donegal, meanwhile, will host the ‘Prehistoric Hunting Games 2013’, with the spear throwing competition being the one to keep your eyes on.
And, not forgetting one of Ireland’s biggest – and most glamourous – festivals…the Rose of Tralee will exhibit the fabulous shoes, dresses and jewellery worn by the Roses over the past 52 years.
On the west coast, County Clare’s natural wonder can be explored from a different angle –take a unique guided geology tour beneath the Cliffs of Moher by boat. Learn how to mint ancient Viking currency from Sitric the Coin Minter at Dalkey Castle in County Dublin, dating from the 14th century. Or take a wander around Huntington Castle, County Carlow, and see how the other half once lived.
How to narrow your choices
The full Heritage Week event guide will be available by the end of July 2013, but you can still search for them online by searching by county, event type or keyword. With all events, enquire with the organiser if pre-booking is required – just in case. And be ultra-prepared for Heritage Week by using their app!
And if you need another heritage fix by the following month, Derry-Londonderry city is hosting ‘European Heritage Open Days’. Explore the 2013 UK City of Culture free of charge from 7-8 September and see exactly why its current title is so well deserved..