Huge variety of events for Heritage Week

Photo shows, Belvedere House - see below for events taking place there, and elsewere, during Heritage Week, August 17-24.

Heritage Week, the annual seven-day celebration of Ireland’s heritage runs this year from Saturday August 17 to Sunday August 25. Co-ordinated by the Heritage Council and local authority heritage officers, National Heritage Week is Ireland’s most popular cultural event. It is part of European Cultural Heritage Days, which promote Europe’s common cultural heritage, and aim to foster awareness of our built, cultural and natural heritage, encouraging its conservation and preservation.

This year the theme of Heritage Week is ‘Pastimes from Past Times’, and there will be opportunities to visit historic buildings and sites usually closed to the public and to take part in cultural events that highlight local pastimes and traditions.

Wednesday August 21 is designated ‘Wild child Day’ and Sunday August 25 ‘Water Heritage Day’ and many of the events will reflect those themes.

Almost 70 events, many free of charge, have been planned across the county by communities, heritage groups, and Westmeath County Council. Some events need to be booked, so planning ahead is advised.


Guided tour of the House

Saturday 17th, Wednesday 21st, Friday 23rd, 2-4pm (not suitable for U12s). Admission adult €8, concession €6, family €23.

Belvedere’s Follies

Walk and Talk Monday 19th, Thursday 22nd, 2-4pm. Admission adult €8, child €4, concession €6, family €23.

Belvedere Gardens Walk and Talk

Tuesday 20th, Saturday 24th, 2-4pm. Admission adult €8, child €4, concession €6, family €23.


Library hosts Spark of Genius

Spark of Genius Exhibition celebrates the life and works of the artists, writers and musicians who have contributed to the cultural heritage of Westmeath. Monday 19th, Wednesday 21st, Friday 23rd 10.30am-5.30pm, Tuesday 20th, Thursday 22nd, noon-8pm, free.

Ireland From Maps

Travelling exhibition from the National Library introduces mapping concepts and terminology and explores the subtext behind some of the best-known maps of Ireland. Monday 19th, Wednesday 21st, Friday 23rd, 10.30am-5.30pm, Tuesday 20th, Thursday 22nd, noon-8pm, free.

Laurence Ginnell, TD

A talk by historian Dr Paul Hughes on Laurence Ginnell, one of two MPs turned TDs in the first Dáil. Wednesday 21st, 11am-12.30pm (not suitable for U12s), free.

Men’s Shed, Church Street

History of Castlepollard NS. Talk by historian Bill Ryan and launch of a booklet discussing the history of Castlepollard national schools and their teachers 1848-1965. Tuesday 20th, 8-10pm free; phone 086 3284309.


Killua Castle

Guided tour – Killua Castle, built in the 18th and 19th century, has been extensively renovated over the last 19 years. Saturday 17th, 10am-4pm (suitable for U12s), free. Booking required:

Explore the Grounds at Killua Castle, former residence of the Chapman family, with links to TE Lawrence and Sir Walter Raleigh. Saturday 17th to Sunday 25th, daily 10am-4pm, free. Email:; phone 087 943 6727.

St John’s Church

Art Exhibition. The restored former Church of St John hosts an exhibition of paintings by a renowned Spanish artist. Saturday 17th to Sunday 25th, daily 10am-4pm, free.


Collinstown Hall

The Turning Wheel. Launch of locally made film about life and crafts in the past, Thursday 22nd, 11am-1pm (not suitable for U12s), free.

What’s in a Name?

Dr Aengus Finnegan, co-ordinator of the Westmeath Field Names Recording Project, will explore field name heritage and an exhibition will feature some of the field names recorded locally. Thursday 22nd, 8-9.30pm, free.


Looped Walk

The Art of History Workshop. Meet artists from across the centuries and learn about their crafts along the looped walk. Design your crest and illuminate a word. Outdoor event – dress appropriately. Sunday 18th, 2-4pm (suitable for U12s), free. Meet at Fore Abbey car park.

Fore Abbey Coffee Shop

Royal Irish Constabulary Historical Lecture by RIC historian and author Jim Herlihy. RIC memorabilia welcome on the night. Friday 23rd, 8-9pm. Admission Adult €5 (not suitable for U12s).


Rathcam House

Farm Walk and a chance to see the recently restored 19th century equine barn. Saturday 17th, 11am-1pm, free.

Exhibition in 19th century Equine Barn. See the recently restored barn, where photographs of the restoration will be on display and there will be an opportunity to chat to the owner about the project. Wednesday 21st, 8-10pm (not suitable for U12s), free.

Hill of Uisneach

Walking Tour led by Justin Moffatt, Saturday 17th, Sunday 18th, Saturday 24th, Sunday 25th, 1-3pm. Admission adult €10, children free.

Children’s Walk with Helen Lynam. Learn about the pastime of hurling and how the Hill of Uisneach played a part in many significant cultural, religious, and mythological events. Wednesday 21st, 1-3pm, free.

The History of Uisneach

Thursday 22nd, 1-3pm. Admission adult €10, child free.

Archaeology Tour of Uisneach with Justin Moffatt, Friday 23rd, 1-3pm. Admission adult €10, children free.

Evening Talk on the Ringforts of Uisneach. Visitor Centre, Friday 23rd, 7-9pm, free.


Grand Canal Warehouse

Westmeath’s Industrial Heritage. Archaeologist Antoine Giacometti will talk about his work recording the industrial heritage of mills, forges, distilleries, canals in Westmeath. Phone 044933 2098. Wednesday 21st, 7.30-8.30pm (not suitable for U12s), free.

Library, The Square

Historic Kilbeggan Town Talk and exhibition of photos of historic Kilbeggan, Thursday 22nd, 2.30-3.30pm, free.


Church and Leper Hospital open to public, with guide within the Church. Wednesday 21st, Saturday 24th, Sunday 25th, 2-4pm, free; phone 087 6181155.


St Etchen’s Church

Open to the public with a guide available, Monday 19th to Saturday 24th, 2-4pm daily, free.

Artist’s Studio, Rathwire Lower.

The family Album Project – this Creative Ireland Project will capture life in the area through the family photographic albums of the older members of the parish of Killucan. Images will be scanned and archived in Mullingar Library,and some photographs will later feature in an exhibition. Families are invited to have their photographs scanned for inclusion in the project. Monday 19th to Friday 23rd, by appointment only. 087 9231106, free.

Killucan Library, Rathwire Hall

Royal Canal Exhibition; photographs of Killucan Royal Canal, Tuesday 20th, 11am-8pm, free.


Railway Station

Tour of the Victorian station and its history by Ruth Illingworth. Sunday 18th, 3-6.30pm, free.

The Atrium

(County Buildings, Mount Street) Laurence Ginnell Exhibition exploring the life of Westmeath man Laurence Ginnell, an Irish nationalist politician, barrister, MP and author, who was involved in the ‘Ranch War’ (1906 and 1909). Monday 19th to Friday 23rd, daily, 9am-5pm, free.

Cathedral Tour - update: cancelled

The planned tour of the historic cathedral has been cancelled due to unforeseen circumstances. The Cathedral Museum will still be open. Monday 19th, 2-5pm, free.

Columb Barracks Tour

With Ruth Illingworth. The barracks is more than 200 years old and has played an important part in the life of the town. Sunday 25th, 3-6.30pm (suitable for U12s), free.


80km of Brilliant Biking with KARE. Phone 086 8098192. Start in Mullingar and follow the path along the canal and on to the greenway. Monday 19th, 10.30-5pm, (not suitable for U12s), free.

All Saints Church

The church will be open with a guide available. Monday 19th to Friday 23rd, daily, noon-2pm, free.

Walking Tour of Historic Mullingar

Led by Ruth Illingworth. Meet at the Tourist Office, Market Square. Tuesday 20th, 2-4pm, Friday 23rd, 2-4.30pm, free.


Greyhound on a Train. Fast-paced play based during the War of Independence, Wednesday 21st, 2.30-3.30pm, free.

Cholera Epidemic in 19th Century Ireland

Talk by archivist Martin Fagan of the effects of the Cholera epidemic on 19th century Ireland, focusing on the Mullingar area, Thursday 22nd, 7-7.45pm, free.

FGEC House

8 Woodlands Ave, Mullingar – handcraft, ‘A Load of Scrap’. See Hilary Wright’s pastime in action and listen to David Wright talk about his “life in the fast lane”. Live music and refreshments. Email Telephone 085 1564 914. Thursday 22nd, 7.30-9pm (not suitable for U12s), free.

Mullingar Town Park

‘The Big Dig’ at The Picnic in the Park. U12s get a chance to take part in a mock excavation and find out what it’s like to be an archaeologist. Sunday 25th, noon-6pm, (suitable for U12s), free.


Beehive Mausoleum Visit and Storytelling. 19th century beehive-shaped mausoleum to Robert Cooke of Cookesborough House in grounds of St John the Baptist’s Church of Ireland, southwest of Delvin. Email; phone 0876157052. Saturday 24th, noon-2pm, (not suitable for U12s,) free.


Prehistoric Barrow Cemetery Tour

Archaeologist Dr David McGuinness will lead a tour of prehistoric barrow cemetery at Slane More. Site which features in the Táin Bó Cúailnge. Please dress for the outdoors. Meet at Walshestown RC Church, Saturday 24th, 3.45-4.15pm, free.


Tour ‘Life below stairs’ and Garden

Visit the Castle’s Victorian servants’ quarters and its famous gardens. Saturday 17th, noon-1pm, Sunday 18th to Thursday 22nd, daily, 3-4pm. Admission adult €12, child €6. Tickets from tea room on the day.

Castle Tours with Bartle D’Arcy

A chance to go beyond the big red doors and see inside this privately owned castle, not normally open to the public. Go back in time and hear about swashbuckling adventures and tragic love stories on your tour. Friday 23rd, Saturday 24th, 2-5pm, hourly tours. Admission adult €12, child €6 (not suitable for U12s). Booking required:; phone 087 3463119

Gardens and Tea Room

Saturday 17th to Saturday 25th, 11am-5pm. Admission Adult, OAP and student €7, child €3, U5 free, family €18. Phone 044-9661159.


The Barn and Cloncrow Bog

Workshop and Field trip on identification of Sphagnum Recognition and other bog plants by Dr Catherine O’Connell (Irish Peatland Conservation Council), Saturday 17th, 11am-3pm, (not suitable for children under 12), free. Booking required;

Walk on Cloncrow Bog

NPWS Ranger Therese Kelly will lead a leisurely walk across Cloncrow Raised Bog, identifying its unique flora and fauna. Sunday 18th, 2-4pm; meet at Tyrrellspass castle, free.

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