by mohara on September 15, 2010

From Avoca to Leixlip – Heritage Week beckons.

In between all the excitement on the GAA front another annual fixture for heritage enthusiasts has crept up on the calendar. The end of August is marked by Heritage Week, a week in which the country’s mosaic of historical and natural heritage sites is promoted to the public. A survey of the 2010 event booklet issued by the Heritage Council shows that Kildare is well represented among the compendium of heritage events and activities during the week which runs from Saturday, 21 August to Sunday, 29 August. Heritage enthusiasts in North Kildare are particularly well served with a series of events clustered around the stellar historical and architectural resource that is Castletown House at Celbridge. Period themed tours, garden walks, children’s tours and workshops, and atmospheric evening tours are all part of the programme being offered by the OPW staff at Castletown. Telephone booking is advised for some of the events so it is worth giving Castletown a ring at 01-6288252. Celbridge is a hotbed of heritage activity with the industrious Community Council making a big effort to highlight the town’s heritage apart from the riches of Castletown. On Saturday at 11am there will be a visit to Kildrought House, a Dublin Merchant’s House from 1719, in the heart of Celbridge.  Floating downstream in the Liffey valley to Leixlip, the gem that is St. Mary’s Church of Ireland will be open from Saturday, 21st August for the week. A very early Norman foundation built circa 1190, St. Mary’s was destroyed in 1317, and rebuilt in the 15th century. Contact Helen Ryan on 01-6240976 for opening times. Turning west on the M4 belt, Maynooth also has an attractive range of events. It is great to see an effort being made to interest the younger folk in their heritage and the OPW staff at Maynooth Castle (beside the college gate) come up trumps with a children’s themed tour of the castle, complete with knights and princesses, at 11am and 1.30pm on Saturday and Sunday. Still on a childhood note but one which will echo with adults of a certain vintage, the Maynooth Local History Group is leading a walk to the grave of Fr. Eoghan O’Growney, known to a generation of Irish school-children for his primer ‘Simple Lessons in Irish.’ Meath native Eoghan O’Growney was a co-founder of the Gaelic League, and he became an inspiration for the intense revival of interest in things Gaelic in the early 1900s. Meet at  the College gate at 3.30 on Sunday. Declan O’Connor of the Maynooth Society at 01 6286043 has full details.  Still in Maynooth, Matt Kennedy of the Royal Canal Amenity Group, is organising a walk along the placid waters of the canal, meet at the Harbour on Saturday at 2.30pm. This is a big year for the Royal as it will be reopened to full navigation from the Shannon to Dublin in the autumn, the first time that it has been fully in service since its closure to commercial boats in the late 1950s. Continuing on a waterways note but in the county town, the Naas Local History Group is having a walk to the harbour area at Naas: meeting point is the Town Hall on Saturday at 3pm. This is the first of three walks which the Naas group is contributing to Heritage week; Charles O’Malley on 045 866899 has all the information. One of the most innovative events for Heritage week will take place in Kilcullen on Monday at 8pm with a walk (meeting at the Heritage centre) through the town highlighting the key buildings and families linked through the huge archival resource of the 1911 Census recently put on line by the National Archives. This promises to be an intriguing exercise, connecting the source documents with the physical evidence on the streetscape. Not all events with a Kildare interest are taking place within the county. A display at the library in Trim, Co. Meath during Heritage Week promises to interest historians of the Curragh Camp. The exhibition will feature images from a 116 page autograph book compiled at the Rath Internment Camp from September to October 1921. Mention must be made too of a walk at Avoca, Co. Wicklow where Naas resident and Heritage Week veteran Nick Coy will lead his annual trek over one of Ireland’s key mining history sites. The walk takes place on Sunday at 3pm; ring Nick on 086 3706731 for essential directions.  Intending participants in any of the above events should check all details on the Heritage Week website,, or consult the bulging Heritage Week programme booklet available in libraries. Series no: 190.


Liam Kenny in his column ‘Nothing New Under the Sun’ from the Leinster Leader of 19th August 2010 promotes the arrival of Heritage Week. Our thanks to Liam. 

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