Celebrate National Heritage Week with a range of free events at Kilkenny Castle

12 August 19

The history of cricket in Kilkenny and it’s connection with hurling, 19th century gardens, a talk on the Butler’s of La Rochelle and a look at the outdoor pleasure and pastimes of the Victorians are some of the great events being hosted by the Office of Public Works (OPW) at Kilkenny Castle to celebrate National Heritage Week 2019.

National Heritage Week, which takes place from the 17th to 25th August, is a celebration of Ireland's built, natural and cultural heritage and aims to generate awareness, appreciation and preservation of Ireland’s wonderful resources.  National Heritage Week is coordinated by the Heritage Council and is now one of Ireland’s largest cultural events.  This year some half a million people are expected to attend some 2,200 events across the country.

The chosen theme for this year’s Heritage Week is the celebration of Pastimes and Past Times and to mark National Heritage Weekend the OPW is hosting a number of free events across Kilkenny Castle.  This is a hugely significant year for the Castle which is celebrating 50 years under the care of the OPW and Kilkenny Castle Parklands has been revealed as Ireland's top free tourist attraction with some 799,032 people visiting the site last year.

Events taking place at the Castle include:

The History of Cricket in Kilkenny, The Parade Tower, Kilkenny Castle, 24th August, 11am - 12pm

This talk on the "forgotten game" of cricket in County Kilkenny by author Michael O' Dwyer will shine a new light on the history of cricket and its connection with the game of hurling.

The Butlers of La Rochelle, 24th August, 4pm - 4.45pm, OPW Kilkenny Castle, The Parade Tower, Kilkenny Castle

Discover the fate of this Irish merchant family who emigrated during the troubled mid-17th century to La Rochelle, on the French Atlantic coast.  This talk will focus on their integration to the French society and how, within just over a century, not only they established themselves in La Rochelle and created a powerful trading network; but also fulfilled familial high ambitions.  This is an adult only event. No booking required.

Pastimes in the Victorian Era, 22th & 24th August, 11am - 11.30am, Kilkenny Castle

Pleasures and pastimes in the Victorian era: this tour will focus on the outdoor hobbies and pastimes of the Victorians.  Booking required, limited availability.  This is an outdoor event, weather dependent.  This is an adult orientated event, but children are welcome.

The Builder, the Bishop and the Butler, Sunday 25th August, 2pm -2.45pm, The Parade Tower, Kilkenny Castle

Peter Kenny, OPW, will discuss three medieval personalities - Thomas Beckett, Elias of Dereham and Hubert Walter - and their connections.

A Victorian Journal, 19th & 25th August, 3pm - 5pm

A short history and art workshop on how to make and keep a Victorian sketching / watercolour journal.  All materials provided. Adults only and please dress for the outdoors. (Booking essential).

Kilkenny Nursing Casualties of World War 1 - 25th August from 4pm - 4.45pm

Female participation in conflict is often overlooked.  This talk will focus on the story of Kilkenny war nurses who sacrificed their lives.  The speaker, James Doherty (O.P.W) is also involved with the W.I.T centre for the research of Conflict Nurses.  This is an adult only event. No booking required.

Sketching in the Gallery, 19th-23rd of August 3pm - 5pm

Kilkenny Castle is opening the magnificent Picture Gallery free of charge to artists who wish to sketch paintings from the Ormonde Picture Collection. Booking essential.

There will also be Free Guided Tours of Kilkenny Castle to mark National Heritage Week. Tours take place on:

  • 25th August, 9.45am - 10.30am
  • 25th August, 10.45am - 11.30am
  • 25th August, 3.15pm - 4pm
  • 25th August, 4.15pm - 5pm

For more information on all of these events and on all thing’s heritage week go to www.heritageweek.ie or contact OPW Client Services and Communications at 01 647 6106 or opwcsc@opw.ie.

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Note to Editors

About Kilkenny Castle

Few buildings in Ireland can boast a longer history of continuous occupation than Kilkenny Castle.  Founded soon after the Norman conquest of Ireland, the Castle has been rebuilt, extended and adapted to suit changing circumstances and uses over a period of 800 years.

Today, Kilkenny Castle is open to visitors all year round and is largely a Victorian remodelling of the thirteenth century defensive Castle.  Each year, hundreds of thousands of visitors come to see this grand country house and walk through its fifty acres of rolling parkland with mature trees and an abundance of wildlife.  Other features include a formal terraced rose garden, woodlands and a man-made lake, which were added in the nineteenth century.  There is also a tearoom, playground and several orienteering trails for visitors to enjoy.