The Office of Public Works (OPW) is opening the doors wide at its heritage sites all around the country during National Heritage Week all this week, inviting everybody to experience local heritage through a programme of special tours and events.
Embracing this year’s message to ‘Open the Door to Heritage’, OPW guides from Dublin to Galway and from Donegal to Kinsale look forward to welcoming visitors of all age groups through the doors of national monuments and historic houses and to meeting visitors to explore the heritage of their sites through workshops and events organised in parks and gardens. While most activities over the course of the coming week are happening on site, some can be enjoyed online by audiences near and far.
Mr. Patrick O’Donovan, T.D., Minister of State with responsibility for the Office of Public Works, welcomed the news of the week-long programme: “As an official partner of National Heritage Week, the OPW is delighted to promote inclusivity and participation in local heritage by all at its heritage sites. I believe the free admission to all OPW heritage sites agreed in line with the Government’s recovery and reopening plan provides an excellent opportunity this year to discover heritage sites in your own area as well as further afield.
OPW staff have created a wonderful schedule of events over the summer, and next week in particular holds an abundance of activities for young and old in store, which allow you to find out more about our built heritage as well as the natural landscape around it.”
Announcing details of the range of events running nationwide, OPW Chairman Maurice Buckley noted: “Since the reopening of heritage sites and the easing of restrictions earlier this year, the OPW has been pleased to welcome visitors again to its heritage sites across Ireland. They are unique visitor attractions and offer cultural and recreational amenities to tourists and local communities alike. National Heritage Week provides a special focus each year for community engagement through inclusive and creative activities, and the OPW invites everybody to come and enjoy the diverse offerings at our heritage sites, whether in your local area or on your holidays in Ireland.”
With the incentive of free admission to all OPW heritage sites this year, many visitors have already happily heeded the call to open the door to heritage on their staycations this summer and can look forward to additional events and programmes taking place across OPW heritage sites during National Heritage Week. In Counties Cork, Waterford, Tipperary and Clare highlights include:
Daily special tours on Scattery Island of Saint Senan’s 6th-century monastic settlement, including the famous round tower, ruins of six churches and holy well.
Online offers include an Irish Sign Language tour of Reginald’s Tower and the Off Limits online exhibition of Ennis Friary’s Prison Cell, Bell Tower and Library and Scriptorium.
The activities organised for Heritage Week are free with the exception of the plays staged at the National Botanic Gardens in Glasnevin and Kilmacurragh. However, pre-registration for events is essential to comply with Covid-19 guidelines.
A full list of the OPW sites and their events for National Heritage Week is available at heritageireland.ie along with additional information on each site, including opening times, booking requirements and contact details.