Twenty Free Things to do this Summer

18 June 19

Come with us on a journey, through Ireland’s magical past! This summer follow in the footsteps of princesses, witches and knights and take a trip to some of our country’s best kept secrets.

Follow in the footsteps of Patrick Pearse and visit the location where the teacher and poet planned rebellion. Explore the only remaining medieval Parish Church in Dublin and learn about the guilds of the city. Find the connection between a monkey on a shield and one of Ireland’s greatest families at Maynooth Castle.

Explore the origins of Europe’s largest enclosed urban park at the Phoenix Park. Take some time to relax or play at the People’s Flower Garden before you check out the tower house and display at Ashtown Castle. If you visit on a Saturday you may even get to visit the residence of the President of Ireland at Áras an Uachtaráin and marvel at the collection of gifts received by our presidents on behalf of the nation.

With over 15,000 plant species the National Botanic Gardens are a crowded place. We still have space for you though! Be sure to try out the tropical climate in the great palm house and take some time to smell the roses or join a tour and find out much more about the huge collection.

Enjoy a quieter pace in county Wicklow where you can wander through the dappled light at Kilmacurragh Gardens; all the while imagining what it was like to live on the estate and then travel the world, bringing back many of the plants you will see on your visit.

At Ferns Castle you can climb the same steps once used by lords, ladies and knights. At the top of the castle look out across the fields and mountains, knowing you are looking at the same fields where the Normans advanced. Drive some of that route through the beautiful Blackstairs mountains to visit the Templar chapel at St Mary’s, where you can take a selfie beside a knight in armour! Or try on some armour yourself at Ballyhack Castle. Transport yourself back to the medieval banquets once held at Desmond Hall and discover how to survive a siege at Listowel Castle.

At Kells Priory surrounded by walls, towers and river you can imagine how the defenses kept the enemy out. While enjoying the sound of birdsong and the splash of an otter you might be lucky enough to see a kingfisher flash by as you take the river walk to the 200 year old mill nearby.

The mighty power of rivers was harnessed to turn mill wheels used to grind corn for bread making. At Newmills in Co Donegal you can watch as one of the largest millwheels in the country still turns the corn-grinding equipment, just as it did 400 years ago.

Iron Age people constructed roadways before our history books were even written! You can see these very roads for yourself at Corlea and try to figure out how, over 2,000 years ago, our ancestors made roadways without any machinery. 

Over time rebellion, sieges and banquets gave way to a different way of life. Find out more about law and order when you visit the 17th century courthouse in Clonmel. At Dungarvan Castle you can cover centuries of Irish history in moments, step from medieval castle to police barracks in just a few short steps.

If you thought pictograms, and emogies are new then think again! Before written words were used to communicate our ancestors used images to tell their stories. Tall tales and fantastic stories are part of who we are.

At the top of Meath’s highest hills are some of our oldest monuments. Lying on The Hills of the Witch stories handed down through centuries, tell us the Loughcrew Cairns were formed by stones falling from a witch’s apron.

Thousands of years have passed but the art of storytelling lasts. Visit any and all of these monuments and our guides, the custodians of the sites, and carrier of their stories will transport you back in time.

Admission is free of charge. Good footwear is recommended. Your imagination is essential.

-ENDS-

For further information, please contact OPW Client Services and Communications at 01 647 6106 or opwcsc@opw.ie.

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Notes to Editors

For a full list of sites under the care of the Office of Public Works please see www.heritageireland.ie

Admission to all sites is FREE for under 12’s.

Entry to all of the following sites is FREE:

  • Corlea Trackway Visitor Centre
  • Kilmacurragh Arboretum
  • Loughcrew
  • Maynooth Castle
  • Newmills Corn and Flax Mills
  • Desmond Hall
  • Listowel Castle
  • Ballyhack Castle
  • Dungarvan Castle
  • Ferns Castle
  • Kells Priory
  • St. Mary’s Church
  • The Main Guard
  • Áras an Uachtaráin
  • Scattery Island
  • Phoenix Park – Peoples Flower Gardens
  • Phoenix Park Visitor Centre – Ashtown Castle
  • National Botanic Gardens
  • Pearse Museum
  • St. Audeon’s Church