Ballyhoura National Heritage Week – Pictured above is the Dominican Priory, just one of the many historic sites to be seen on the Walking Tour of Kilmallock
Ballyhoura Country Announces its National Heritage Week Events
With National Heritage Week taking place across Ireland from Saturday 14th August to Sunday 22nd August, Ballyhoura Country–situated at the crossroads of Limerick, Cork and Tipperary–is marking this vibrant celebration of Ireland’s culture with a jam-packed schedule of free events celebrating the region’s history, art, heritage and biodiversity. With a range of indoor and outdoor activities–plenty of them family-oriented for those on staycations–there is something to pique everyone’s interest in the beautiful Golden Vale of Munster.
From JFK to Éamon de Valera, it’s safe to say that Ballyhoura’s rich connection to the past is everywhere you look. Bruff is a town rich in local heritage and culture, and is also the ancestral home of the famous Fitzgerald Kennedy clan. To dive deeper into the town’s story, local renowned historian Tommy Meany is hosting a Walking Heritage Tour of Bruff on Tuesday 17th August at 7.30pm, in which he will engage, beguile and educate his audience with facts, folklore and lots of interesting anecdotes! It starts and finishes at the Church of Ireland, beside Morning Star River. On Thursday 19th August, Ruairí Ó Conchúir (LAWPRO) will lead a Walk and Talk on the Morning Star River at 7.30pm. The event, Water Is Life, will focus on the themes of local biodiversity, water quality and how to support your local river. This family-friendly event will include an exploration of instream and riparian (riverbank) biodiversity, and will include kick sampling of macroinvertebrates, and a discussion on the habitat enhancement plans for the Morning Star. This is followed by a 9pm Walk and Talk by Maurice Lyons about bats, and how to identify them. Booking for all Bruff events is via [email protected]
Going back further in the mists of time, the ‘enchanted’ Lough Gur–a horseshoe-shaped lake bounded on three sides by hills, is home to Gearóid Iarla, who was banished to the bottom of the lake by the goddess Áine, returning once every seven years to try to break the curse. There’s free entry to the Lough Gur Visitor Centre Exhibition on 14th & 15th August, where you can find out more about the area’s rich folklore and wealth of archaeology. Nearby, Grange Stone Circle–a place of ritual gatherings, sacrifice and worship from prehistoric times to the modern-day–is Ireland’s largest stone circle. Built around 2100 BC, it is often compared to some of Britain’s ritual henges, such as Stonehenge. Another free event will be an exploration of the Biodiversity of Lough Gur; this takes place at 11am on Wed 18th August and booking is HERE.
If Kilmallock’s walls could talk, they’d surely have some intriguing tales to tell! The Norman castle dates from 1206, but nearby Neolithic house ruins were built by locals some 5,000 years ago! This historically-rich medieval town was a major centre for religion, trade and commerce, as well as the political stronghold of the Earls of Desmond. Many medieval buildings survive, creating a unique urban landscape. On Thursday 19th August, Kilmallock Tourism will organise a Walking Tour of Kilmallock at 7pm, taking you on the Priory Walk, the West Wall Walk and all the main heritage sites that this historic town has to offer; it will start from King’s Castle at 7pm. On Wednesday 18th August, kids and families are being encouraged to drop the devices, jump off the couch and get outdoors to explore the heritage in the Kilmallock locality for Wild Child Day! On Wednesday 21st August between 3-5 pm, Deebert House Hotel will be hosting a Family Heritage Hunt exploring the walks and heritage around Kilmallock. Prizes and ice-cream on the day for all taking part. To book all Kilmallock events, contact Margaret on 063-31200.
Come explore the biodiversity of this amazing site where Lough Gur rests between the two large wetland areas associated with the lake. Book here: https://t.co/uJebe3R9Jz
Also, FREE entry to the @LoughGurVisit Exhibition on 14th & 15th August! @HeritageWeek
— Visit Ballyhoura (@Ballyhoura) August 4, 2021
When considering Ireland’s most beautiful estates, it’s hard to look past the stunning Doneraile Court and Estate in north Cork. Built by the first Viscount Doneraile in the 1720s, it was modified extensively in the 19th century creating the imposing and characterful building that can be enjoyed today. The estate and surrounding village have a strong literary tradition, incorporating figures such as Edmund Spenser–who immortalised the adjoining River Awbeg in his poem The Faerie Queene–the novelist Elizabeth Bowen, and Canon Sheehan. It’s open to the public from Thursdays – Mondays, and all tours are free. Also happening in Doneraile from 12th-15th August is the Doneraile ArtFest.
Staying with Cork, Mitchelstown is one of the oldest towns in the north of the county and derives its name from the Norman family of Fitzdavid de St. Michel who founded the town in the 11th century. Noted as a market-town, the Thursday markets, granted by Royal Charter in 1618, continue to this day. The town has a wide range of free cultural events for Heritage Week. From 14th-21st August, the library will host a Historical Community Display in conjunction with online talks about the Mitchelstown community area and within the Galtee vales. In addition, Fáilte Ireland guide, renowned genealogist and Mitchelstown resident, Séamus Fox, will lead various Heritage Week tours, including Labbycally Megalithic Tomb at Glanworth, Liam Lynch Memorial (War of Independence leader) at Goatenbridge in Knockmealdowns, Mitchelstown Caves, Galtee Mountain Hikes, Araglin Waterfalls, St. Fanahan Abbey/Pagan Well, Mulberry Silk Plantation, John Mandeville (Land League activist) all in Mitchelstown, as well as the Fairy Houses in Darragh. For genealogy enthusiasts, Séamus will be exploring fun family trees, homestead tours, clan gatherings, citizenship application, heir-hunting of lost cousins who died intestate, and more, while Gaelic Games fans will love the display of Gaelic games, hurling, handball as well as road bowling, stone-throwing, weight throwing, skittles and croquet. Séamus’ events can be booked on [email protected] or 087-3589734.
If you fancy a ramble through the rolling hills of Ballyhoura Country, look no further than the Ballyhoura Bears Walking Club. Check out their Heritage Week walk schedule HERE; the walks are free, you just need to contact the organisers (Jim Flynn 087-2833456) in advance to let them know you’ll be joining them.
Kilfinane may be a small market town of just over 700 people, but it is the highest town in all of Limerick at an elevation of 150m. It was once a seat of the Kings of Munster, as well as being historical hotspots of both the 1798 Rebellion and Cromwell’s invasion. During Heritage Week, you can do a self-guided Historic Walking Tour of Kilfinane or a Photographic Hunt of landmarks around the town (free maps for both). On the 15th August, there’ll be a 2-hour Guided Walk of Kilfinane and Ballyriggan and one on the 22nd August, investigating ecology in the river. For Kilfinane bookings, contact Louise MacAvin at 087-2706301.
Those with a keen eye on local biodiversity will be interested in the Maigue Rivers Trust’s online launch, on August 17th at 7-8pm, of the report: “An Exploration of the Recreation & Amenity Potential of the Maigue River”. Register on [email protected]
There’s so much to explore during Heritage Week in Ballyhoura Country – where will your feeling take you?
Full schedule is available to view HERE
For more stories on Ballyhoura go HERE