Take a Walk on the Wild Side this Heritage Week in Laois

Celebrating the natural heritage of Laois through free, fun, family events

Across the country plans are coming together for National Heritage Week 2017 which will take place from 19 to 27 August. Events are being organised by almost 1,000 heritage enthusiasts from organisations to community groups and individuals.

The programme of events for Laois highlights the abundance of great work that is carried out in all communities in Ireland to preserve and promote our natural, built and cultural heritage.

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Sarah Stanley and Katie Kirwan at Kids Wildlife in The People’s Park, Portlaoise as part of Laois Heritage week.
Picture: Alf Harvey


Catherine Casey, Heritage Officer with Laois County Council said “Most of the events are free so that the heritage of Laois can be accessed and appreciated by all. For nine action packed days, Ireland celebrates not only heritage but community involvement and a deep connection between people and place”.


This year’s theme is Nature, and heritage really is in our nature! From a Pollinator Party at Portlaoise Town Park, Bee Movie at the Dunamaise Arts Centre, and a sneak preview of a piece of music inspired by the bees of Laois and the people who are trying to protect them, to hands on wildlife workshops for children at our libraries, there is something for everyone to enjoy this National Heritage Week. Find out more about the natural world all around us at workshops, exhibitions, activities, talks, demonstrations, re-enactments, tours and more.


Of course all other aspects of our heritage are being explored as well – Find out about the recent excavations into the history of the medieval Fort at the centre of Portlaoise, on two walking tours – one led by adults and the other led by children!


Explore the history of Laois on a walking tour of Portlaoise. Get your hands dirty and kids archaeological digs in Abbeyleix and Mountrath. Enjoy the high roads and byways of Laois with the Bulfin Heritage Cycle. Or journey to Castlewood Organic Farm in Durrow or Ballykilcavan near Stradbally, to find out more about the wildlife that surrounds us and how faming and wildlife go hand in hand. Visit Donaghmore Museum, this time to learn about the wildlife that has made its home within the walls of the former workhouse.

Gordon D’Arcy at work at the Heritage Week Irish Wildlife Workshop with Gordon D’Arcy in Mountmellick Library.
Picture: Alf Harvey

National Heritage Week is a wonderful opportunity to shine a light on not only our heritage but the work of thousands of volunteers who give their time to preserve and promote it. Last year National Heritage Week hosted its biggest national celebration of all things heritage, with over 400,000 people attending almost 2,000 events.


National Heritage Week is part of a European Heritage Day programme of events. This is a joint initiative of the Council of Europe and the European Union in which over forty countries participate each year. The main aim of European Heritage Days is to promote awareness of our built, natural and cultural heritage and to promote Europe’s common cultural heritage. Here in Ireland we celebrate European Heritage Days with a full week of events throughout National Heritage Week. National Heritage Week is coordinated by The Heritage Council and its aim is to build awareness and education about our heritage thereby encouraging its conservation and preservation.

Breda and Bobby Maher, Clonaslee with Tom Hussey of Dunamaise Bee Keepers at Emo Court as part of Heritage Week.
Picture: Alf Harvey

In the past ten years Heritage Week has grown into a highly successful programme of over 1800 events which take place during the last week of August each year. At local level, Heritage Week events are co-ordinated by the Heritage Office of Laois County Council. An event guide for the week for Laois is available to download at www.laos.ie/heritage, or in hard copy at all Branch Libraries. National Heritage Week 2017 will run from 19th to 27th  August. – See more at: www.heritageweek.ie.

Heritage Council Heritage Week logo 2017

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