Heritage Week is almost here!

The theme for Heritage Week this year is “Sharing Stories” and with over 70 events registered for Laois so far, this year promises to be one of the best yet. The full guide to all the fun, family events happening across Laois for Heritage Week – Saturday August 18th and Sunday August 26th  – is now available to download. .


From the story of our waterways at Vicarstown to old coins and measurements in Mountmellick, and from bats in the belfry in Timahoe to the story of our landscape seen in old maps, there is a great range of activities on show in the county this year.


Checking out the jewellery at Portarlington Library for the The Fingal Living History Society Viking period workshop as part of Heritage Week.
Picture: Alf Harvey/HRPhoto.ie


The Libraries of Laois always put a great effort into Heritage Week and this year is no exception, with free events in most of the Libraries of the County, ranging from straw craft for adults and children and genealogy to exploring the stories of our history and wildlife with Michael Moylan of Irish History Live and Dale Treadwell of Naturally Wild. All of the library events are free, but most require booking, so please do contact your branch as soon as you can to avoid disappointment.


Events at the Dunamaise Arts Centre for Heritage Week include the launch of the Wolfhill Mining Project on Wednesday 22nd, and on Saturday 18th August, “What good is looking well when you’re rotten on the inside?” a fascinating play by Emma O’Grady based on the writings of her grandfather, a Civil Servant from Mountrath.


Wildlife events include an update on the Laois Swift Survey and the fate of the dipper, by BirdWatch Ireland, an exploration of the Grand Canal and Garryhinch Woods with the Irish Wildlife Trust, a beekeeping demo and nature walk in Emo Court, a bat walk in Timahoe, and a tour of the wildlife of Portlaoise. Our native bees are well looked after again this year, with this year’s Pollinator Party taking place in Mountrath,

The Stradbally Woodland Express Steam Train , in full Steam on Sunday last -as part of Heritage Week. Photo : Michael Scully -No Reproduction Fee.

The Stradbally Woodland Express Steam Train , in full Steam on Sunday last -as part of Heritage Week. Photo : Michael Scully

Other highlights of the week will include the Bulfin Heritage Cycle across the county, with participants in period costume on High Nelly bikes, the ever-popular stream trains in Stradbally Woods and the chance to experience sunset on the Rock of Dunamase.


There are open days in Stradbally Hall, and the gardens of Abbey Leix Estate, farm heritage walks on at Ballykilcavan and Castlewood, guided tours of Portlaoise and Abbeyleix, and local community photography exhibitions in Portarlington and Mountmellick.


There really is a great range of  events planned and the week is a great opportunity to get out and discover your own local heritage, and maybe share a story or two with neighbours or visitors!


Heritage Week is co-ordinated locally by the Heritage Office of Laois County Council, and at national level by the Heritage Council. Details of all events happening across the country are at www.heritageweek.ie.



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