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Our guide to what’s on this weekend

Brought to you by Laois Tourism

It’s a very busy weekend around Laois as Heritage Week begins on Saturday. 

The theme for Heritage Week this year is “Pastimes, Past Times” and the free, fun, family events all across the county celebrate all kinds of pastimes, from vintage games in Abbeyleix and historic gardens in Ballinakill to the Bulfin Heritage Cycle and wildlife art in the libraries in Portlaoise and Mountmellick. 

The full guide can be downloaded at laois.ie/heritage. Natan Carter is also in Portlaoise, The Queen of the Erkina will be crowned tomorrow night in Rathdowney and there is so much more to get us out and about this weekend.  

THURSDAY 15 AUGUST 

Slieve Bloom Guided Walk 

The Slieve Bloom Walking Club’s next guided walk is Dysart Woodland walk.  This walk is a Grade B, 9km walk and takes 3 hours. Meeting point is Dysart Woodland Carpark at 7pm. 

€5 per walk or €20 annual membership (€30 for family).

Journeys: An Exhibition at Dunamaise Arts Centre

Journeys is an exhibition featuring work by The Spikey Jar Collective: Mixed Media by Doreen Bourke, and Textile Art and Painting by Janet O’Grady, Nora Reilly, Kate O’Brien and Mel McNally.

A group of Laois based contemporary artists present work inspired by their diverse backgrounds and interests and wide ranging experiences.

The gallery space is open daily until the 15th of Sept so pop in any time, have a coffee and soak up the wonderful work.

If you would like to meet the artists there is an opening reception Thurs evening at 7pm. This is a free event. For more information see www.dunamaise.ie

FRIDAY 16 AUGUST

Eva and the Perfect Rain

Enjoy some story-time and craft with award-winning author Tatyana Feeney this Friday. This is ideal for ages 4 to 8 years. 

There are a number of opportunities to take part over the day with workshops in Mountmellick, Portlaoise and Rathdowney libraries.  All are free but booking is required.

Mountmellick Library is at 10am. Call 057 86 44572 to book.

Portlaoise Library is at 12pm. Call 057 86 22333 to book 

Rathdowney Library is at 3pm. Call 0505 46852  to book. 

No Stairway (Led Zeppelin Tribute)

Come and see one of the best Led Zeppelin Tribute Acts in Kavanagh’s Bar & Venue. No Stairway is comprised of 4 musicians with a love of Led Zeppelin. They were brought together through Galway’s Access Music Project. Tickets cost €12 and the gig begins at 9.30pm. 

Jimmy Buckley & his band

The Castle Arms in Durrow Big Band Friday presents Jimmy Buckley and his band. Jimmy Buckley is one of the top Country and Irish bands touring Ireland and the UK.  He will bring you Country & Irish music as you’ve never heard it before and a great night is guaranteed. The show begins at 9pm. Tickets are €15 and can be got from the hotel or call 057 87 36117

Queen of the Erkina –Rathdowney 

The annual Queen of the Erkina will take place on Friday, August 16th from 9.30pmat The Brewery  Bar. The entries are now in so come along and find out who will be crowned the Queen Of The Erkina. There will be a live DJ playing all the hits, it’ll be a fun night for all. 

SATURDAY 17 AUGUST

Intensive Horticultural Course

Dunmore Country School is one of the best places to learn about organic gardening.  This 1 day event covers planning and design of your garden and polytunnel, soil, composting, vegetables, weeds & much more.

The course costs €100 including lunch and runs from 9.30am-4.30pm. 

Vintage Car & Tractor Run

The 24th annual Laois Vintage Road Run will take place on Saturday 17th August 2019 from Treacy’s of the Heath.  Since 1996, Laois Vintage Ltd has raised €927,301 for Laois Hospice, and hope to reach €1 million by their 25th run.

The run begins at 11am at Treacy’s.  This year’s car run will visit Lough Boora Discovery Park, Co. Offaly, while the tractor run will take in Abbeyliex and Ballyroan. All vehicles will return to Treacys between 3.30pm and 4pm. 

Live music will follow all evening from 3.30 so this promises to be a great day out. Please support Laois Vintage who donate all monies raised directly to Laois Hospice. For more information call 057 8646539.

Strictly Come Dancing-Fundraiser Event

Join a ragbag crew of teenage friends as they step outta their school shoes and into their dancing shoes to raise funds for KWWSPCA.  It will guarantee laughs and fun for the whole family.

Come along for an unforgettable night and a time to remember! Tickets are €15/€12 and the show begins at 7pm.  For more see here.

Slieve Bloom Guided Walk 

The Slieve Bloom Walking Club’s next guided walk is Moonamondra Bog walk.  This walk is a Grade B, 9km walk and takes 2-3 hours. Meeting point is The Green, Errill at 2pm.  €5 per walk or €20 annual membership (€30 for family). 

Flare in the Square 

The annual “Flare in the Square” is running in the Square, Rathdowney on Saturday 17 August between 5pm to 8pm with a great line up of music from some of our local musicians.

Come hear The Finns, Rusty Springs and Sweet Freedom rock the Square.  This is a free event and please come out and support. 

Jumpers For Goalposts – Heritage Week Event

Travel back in time and let your children take part in a 1940s style Association Football soccer match. All period kit provided! This highly popular workshop is aimed at children aged between 9 and 12 and will be played on the nearby church field in a near perfect period setting.

Match set up is at St. Michael & All Angels’ Parochial Hall, Abbeyleix and runs from 3pm-5pm.  The event is free but booking is required. For more information or to book call 087 173 7852 or email sandymount.heritage@eircom.net.

International Flag Badge Making – Heritage Week Event

Another greart event running St. Michael & All Angels’ Parochial Hall, Abbeyleix. Have a go at making your own International Flag Badge from safety pins and coloured seed beads, while learning about all things Vexillogical (the study of Flags).

This highly enjoyable (and therapeutic event) workshop is suitable for all from age six upwards and is very popular with family groups.

It’s free but booking is required and runs from 6pm-9pm. To book contact sandymount.heritage@eircom.net, Call 087 173 7852 or email sandymount.heritage@eircom.net.

Bee Craft for Children – Heritage Week Event 

Join Valerie Madden in Portarlington Library for a bee arts and crafts session for children. Suitable for children aged eight to 12 years. The event is free and runs from 11am- 12pm and booking is required. To book contact 0578643751 or email: emcevoy@laoiscoco.ie.

Genealogy Clinic – Heritage Week Event

Would you like to do your family tree but don’t know where to start? Book in for a free thirty minute, one-to-one advice clinic with Laois Genealogy Club members, who will provide guidance and pointers on your specific research problems.

This event runs in Portlaoise Library from 10am-1pm and is free but booking is required. To book contact 057 8622333 or email: scarroll@laoiscoco.ie.

Heritage of Kilminchy – Heritage Week Event

Kilminchy Estate. With our friends from the Irish Wildlife Trust Laois/Offaly branch, help cut our new wildflower meadow at the lakes in the morning. Plenty of volunteers are required for this part. To keep the children busy, there will be some wildlife games too.

That evening, come along to a free heritage talk on Kilminchy in the Sue Ryder Centre.  The event is free and runs from 10am -8pm and it’s ran by the local home owners.  To get involved call 087 774 1846 or email info@kilminchyhomeowners.com.

Bat Walk – Castletown Heritage Week Event

Join Anna Collins of Kildare Bat Group for an exploration of the bats of Castletown and the River Nore.  Children will love this event as it runs from 9pm in Castletown. 

Cob Oven Building- Heritage Week Event

Clondarrig Community Farm, just outside Portlaoise has this wonderful workshop running for heritage week.  Using traditional methods learn through hands on building experience how to build your own garden oven perfect for pizzas etc.

This is a full day workshop and runs from 9.30am-5.30pm and costs €50 per adult. Two children can accompany each adult. To book email  clondarrigfarm@gmail.com   or find the event on Facebook https://www.facebook.com/events/620932575064006/.

History Talk on Kevin O’Higgins – Heritage Week Event 

History Talk on Kevin O’Higgins – Famous Stradbally man. Join Regina McGinley, for a talk on the fascinating and controversial Laois man, whose political career ranged from nationalist revolutionary to architect of law and order in Ireland. This free event runs in Portlaoise Library on the 17th Aug at 2pm.  The event is free to attend.

Bog Stories of Ireland – Heritage Week Event

Hear stories about people, and places visited, from National Geographic Explorer, Emily Toner, who researched the cultural and environmental significance of bogs in Ireland over the past year. This event runs in Abbeyleix Heritage House and is free. 

The talk begins at 2pm. For more information call 057 86 31653 or email: info@abbeyleixheritage.com.

Vintage Train Rides – Heritage Week Event 

The Stradbally Woodland Railway runs again this weekend to celebrate Heritage Week. Enjoy a vintage Bórd na Móna steam and diesel train ride through the woods of Stradbally.

Run by dedicated volunteers, you can go as many times as you want as your ticket lasts all day! There is also a shop also available and some picnic tables so why not bring a picnic and make and afternoon of it.

Adult: €7 Child: €3 Family: €15 The trains will run from 12pm-4pm on Saturday and Sunday the 17th &18th Aug.  For more information call 085 821 6358 or email: stradballyrailway@gmail.com.

Mountmellick Embroidery Exhibition – Heritage Week Event

An exhibition of traditional and contemporary Mountmellick work the spectacular white on white embroidery.  Running from the 17th to 19th in Owenass Hall from 10am-6pm each day.  

There is no cost to view the exhibition. To find out more call 085 861 9517 or email info@mountmellick.ie.

Stradbally Hall Tours – Heritage Week Event

Stradbally Hall house tours are running daily during Heritage Week from the 17th to 25th August. Please come to the Main Gates of Stradbally Hall where there will be a shuttle bus to the house.

Tours last approx. one hour and run 9am-1pm daily. Tours cost Adult €10. Children are free but it’s not suitable for children under 12. For more information call 087 223 7549 or email thomascosby1974@gmail.com.

Folklore by Local Children in the 1930s – Heritage Week Event

Dúchas “The Schools Collection” is a collection of folklore and local traditions compiled by primary school pupils of the Mountmellick, Rosenallis and Clonaslee areas between 1937 and 1939. 

They can be viewed in Mountmellick Library on the 17th,20th, 21st,22nd,23rd,24th Aug from 10am each day. For more information call  085 861 9517 or Email: info@mountmellick.ie.

Local History Exhibition – Heritage Week

Mountmellick Heritage Society’s Annual Exhibition takes place in Mountmellick Library for the month of August 2019. Call in during library opening hours to explore the rich heritage of Mountmellick.

There is no cover charge and runs during library opening hours. For more information call 057 86 44572 or email: mountmellickheritage@gmail.com.

SUNDAY 18 AUGUST

Walking Tour of Ballykilcavan – Heritage Week Event

Guided walking tour of the newly renovated 18th century farmyard at Ballykilcavan and the 19th century walled garden, where the famous gardener William Robinson started his career. There is no cost and the walk runs from 2pm-3.30pm.  For more information call 086 348 4128 or email david@ballykilcavanbrewing.com.

Toy Soldier Metal Casting – Heritage Week Event

Have a go at making your own metal Toy Soldier from a wide range of choices! This event runs in St. Michael & All Angels’ Parochial Hall, Abbeyleix from 2-6pm.

It is a free event but booking is required. To book call 087 173 7852 or email: sandymount.heritage@eircom.net.

Nathan Carter

Country music star Nathan Carter returns to the Midlands Park Hotel for another fantastic gig.  Don’t miss him this time. Tickets are on sale now from www.ticketmaster.ie or from hotel reception and costs €33. The gig begins at 8pm. For more information see www.midlandparkhotel.com

Guided Tours of Emo Court House – Heritage Week Event

On the 18th and 25th you can enjoy a free guided tours of the feature rooms in the house, where you will hear stories of the characters who lived there. See all the family portraits, fine furniture and photographs from 1790-1970. The house is open from 10:30am-4:30pm.  For more information call 057 8626573 or email emocourt@opw.ie. See www.emocourtopw.ie

Laois Heritage App 

Out and about Laois and want to know more about the local sites? Download the Laois Heritage App on the Google Play Store or Apple IStore.  It covers 14 different sites around the county with a brief audio guide on each.  The Laois Garden trail can also be found on this app. 

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Siún Lennon joined LaoisToday in a full-time capacity after studying Journalism and New Media in the University of Limerick. She hails from Rosenallis and her interests vary from news, sports and politics.