Friday 13 August 2021

A selection of Heritage Week events for family and local historians

Heritage Week 2021 launches tomorrow and runs to Sunday 22 August. Each year, Heriage Week kicks off on the third weekend of August and sees a wide range of heritage events hosted by national and local community organisations across the country.

Most events are free; where there is a charge to attend, it usually involves only a very small contribution to costs.

This year there are more than 740 events (some are still being added this afternoon) exploring natural, cultural or built heritage. Some 160 are virtual events. The remainder involve your physical presence and covid precautions will be in place.

The site allows you to filter through these events by location and topic category, and whether online or in-person events. You can also search by keyword. Dig in. You're sure to find something of interest.

My selection of events below gives a flavour of the events available, and I've chosen those I feel would be of interest to fellow genealogists and lovers of history. There are quite a few opportunities to explore graveyards, sit in on online lectures, visit offline exhibitions, take in a historically themed walking tour, get fit on a more-than-a-stroll educational hike, or enjoy the more relaxing option of a boat tour.

Multi-day events during Heritage Week:

  • Exhibition of the National Folklore Collection focusing on Roscommon schools. A digital exhibition will be display in Roscommon County Library everyday during National Heritage Week. Normal opening hours. Details.
  • From Conflict To Division': Donegal, 1919-1925, an exhibition at Donegal County Museum. Venue: High Rd, Ballyboe Glencar, Letterkenny, Co. Donegal. Masks mandatory.Details. Monday to Saturday during museum's normal working hours.
  • Tuesday 17 August – Thursday 19 August: Aspects of East Galway heritage, three online talks. Host: East Galway Family History Society. Tuesdays's talk 2pm–3pm. Wednsday and Thursday talks at 7pm–8pm. Free, but you need to register. Details

One-day events during Heritage Week

Saturday 14 August: Archival footage and guided tours of historic and heritage buildings in Cork. More than 60 subtitled videos in the following categories: Live Events, Interviews, Language and Customs, Documentaries and Exhibitions(current), Natural Heritage, Tours, Photography, and Archives & Tutorials. All free. More.

Monday 16 August: 30-minute genealogy consultation, with Terri Kearney, at Skibbereen Heritage Centre. Booking essential. 3pm–5:30pm. Free. Telephone for appointment 028-40900. Details.

Monday 16 August: The Nightwatchman's tour of Galway, a walking tour, with Cul Stories. 7pm. Follow the Nightwatchman by torchlight as he makes his nightly rounds and discover what life was like within the walls of Medieval Galway. Donation required. Book at Eventbrite.

Tuesday 17 August: Irish Women and the Great War, an online lecture with Dr Fionnuala Walsh discussing the impact of the Great War on the lives of women in Ireland and of their vital but often overlooked involvement in the war effort. Host: Louth Library Service. Free. 7.30pm. Register here.

Tuesday 17 August: The Poor Law Union and the Workhouse at Cootehill, with Jonathan Smyth. Host: Cootehill Library, Co. Cavan. Video lecture premieres on YouTube at 7:30pm. Free.

Wednesday 18 August: St Fintan's Cemetery in Sutton, with Fingal Libraries Archivist Karen de Lacey exploring the history of the cemetery and stories of some of those buried there. 7pm. Online. Register by email to

Wednesday 18 August: Bere Island and its links to Argentina, an online discussion with members of the Bere Island Argentine community. Host: Bere Island Projects Group. 8.00pm. Free. Details.

Wednesday 18 August: Researching your family history, an online tutorial with Joanne Rothwell, Waterford City and County Council Archivist. 12:30pm – 1:30pm. Free. Booking required. Eventbrite.

Thursday 19 August: Where to start on your Irish family history? an online class with Bernie Walsh of Daulten Quaile Genealogy. 11am to Noon. Free. Need to book. Details.

Thursday 19 August: Collaborative conservation at the Chester Beatty Library, Dublin, with Justyna Chmielewska and Sophie Coulthard. A live virtual presentation. Free. 1:10pm.Details.

Friday 20 August: The Valley of Thieves in the Dublin Mountains, a unique 19km hike with Ben Shorten. Previous hiking experience preferable but not essential, however, you'll good level of fitness. See full description. 9:30am to 4:30pm. Donation required. Book via Eventbrite.

Friday 20 August: World War II soldiers of County Longford, an online lecture with Hugh Farrell. Host: Longford Heritage Office. Free, on Microsoft Teams. 7:30pm. See details.

Friday 20 August: Three Drogheda Merchant Ledgers on display at Louth County Archives Service, Ardee Road, Dundalk. 10am to 1pm. Free. No need to book or register. Visitors required to wear mask and adhere to covid regulations. Details.

Friday 20 August: Tracing Your Irish Military Ancestors, a lunchtime seminar with genealogist David Ryan. Host & venue: St Peter's Cork, 87A North Main Street, Cork City. Free. 1pm. Need to register.

Saturday 21 August: Turret Lodge, Kilrush, Open Day, a tour of the newly-restored lodge with members of Kilrush & District Historical Society. Each tour takes c15minutes and numbers will be limited on eacy tour. Booking is not necessary. 2pm–5pm. Masks essential.

Saturday 21 August: Tour of the newly restored Naul Graveyard, with Ian Lennon, followed by a talk on Local Traditions in Early Eighteenth-Century Commemorations, with Fionnuala Parnell. Noon–1:30pm. Free, but need to book. Details.

Saturday 21 August: Douglas Street, Cork at the time of the 1911 Census, a walking tour with David Ryan. Meeting at Nano Nagle Place at Noon, this free one-hour tour will explore Douglas Street and surroundings in 1911. Learn who lived along the street and what the census tells us about life in Cork over a century ago. Numbers limited. Booking essential.

Sunday 22 August: History and heritage boat tours of Grand Canal Dock, hosted by the Inland Waterways Association of Ireland (IWAI) Dublin branch. Book a 45-minute tour of the 25-acre GCD site, which dates from 1796. 11am, 12pm, 4pm. Free. Details.

Sunday 22 August: Treasures of the Strokestown Famine Archive, the launch of this new virtual exhibit from the National Famine Museum in Strokestown Park, Co Roscommon makes publically accessible some of the most important archival records from the Great Hungar for the first time. 7pm. Free. For joining details for Zoom meeting see details.

Sunday 22 August: The Sources of Local History, with Stephen Dolan, a free outdoor event at Ballyglunin Station, Co Galway at 1:30pm. Limited numbers. Details.

Sunday 22 August: Tales of a Graveyard, at St Mary's Medieval Mile Museum, 2 High Street, Kilkenny. 10am start. Free but need to book at Eventbrite.

Sunday 22 August: Lackeen to Lorrha Historic Walk, with James Heenan and David Broderick. Host: Lorrha & Dorrha Historical Society. A three-mile guided tour and walk taking in a tour of Lackeen Castle, home of the O'Kennedy Chieftains, visiting the Stolen railway and Curragha Bog and other historic landmarks on the way. €7 (€5 per student). Details.