Step into the past at Bunratty and Craggaunowen

Wednesday, August 02, 2023. 9:09pm
Step into the past at Bunratty and Craggaunowen during Heritage Week

Step into the past at Bunratty and Craggaunowen during Heritage Week

The cultural, built and natural heritage of Craggaunowen, Bunratty Castle & Folk Park and County Clare will be celebrated during Heritage Week 2023 from August 12th to 20th.

‘Living Heritage’ is the theme of this year’s programme of events during which members of the public will be invited to the popular visitor attractions of Bunratty and Craggaunowen to explore the traditions and practices, knowledge and skills passed down through generations.

At Bunratty, the 2023 Summer Carnival on August 12-13th will feature old style carnival and traditional novelty games like smash a can, coconut shy and giant checkers, as well as train rides through the Folk Park. Animators will showcase life in times past through storytelling and roleplaying as visitors learn about life as a doctor in early 20th century Ireland, a Royal Irish Constabulary (RIC) Policeman, a musician in the 1900s and as a blacksmith. Meanwhile, there will be a traditional thatching demonstration, woodworking with TikTok sensation Eoin Reardon, talks on animal husbandry, Sean Nós singing, step dancing, a tour of the 19th century Bunratty House, and an introduction to the Regency Plant Collection at the Victorian Walled Garden.

Craggaunowen will host reenactors and tradespeople from across Clare who will demonstrate the crafts and traditions of old, including spinning and weaving, bread and butter making, candle making, and wool dyeing, while stories of mythology and the history of the Ogham stones will be recounted. The green in front of the 16th century Craggaunowen Castle will host The Age of the Vikings, a celebration of Viking culture, crafts, customs and creativity.

Cllr. Joe Cooney, Cathaoirleach of Clare County Council, commented, “The Heritage Council first began coordinating the week in 2005 and since then it has gone from strength to strength with over 1000 events and projects organised across the country each year. The initiative serves as a reminder to the people of Clare of the wonderful heritage and history that surrounds them. The events at Craggaunowen and Bunratty Castle & Folk Park are always a highlight as they allow visitors to step back in time to sample the old crafts and traditions that were once present in every Irish town and village.”

“Heritage Week offers us an ideal opportunity to invite people sample what it would have been like living in Ireland down through the centuries,” commented Adrienne O’Flynn, Sales and Marketing Manager for Clare Tourism East.

She continued, “Through our comprehensive programme of events we hope to promote a greater sense of awareness and appreciation of Clare’s built and natural heritage, as well as a greater understanding of our shared cultural past. We have proudly participated in Heritage Week for many years, and we look forward to once again welcoming history and heritage enthusiasts of all ages to Craggaunowen and Bunratty next week.”

Step into the past at Bunratty and Craggaunowen during Heritage Week

Bunratty highlights:

  • Summer Carnival (Saturday August 12th and Sunday August 13th from 11am to 5pm) – traditional carnival games, train ride, facepainting, and puppet and magic shows.
  • Woodworker Extraordinaire (August 17th to 20th) – TikTok sensation Eoin Reardon (@PintofPlane) demonstrates how he makes an array of wooden items using old traditional methods as he rescued all sorts of items from a currach to a sugan chair.
  • Basket Making (August 17th, 18th, 20th) – Tom Delaney makes traditional style baskets from locally sourced willow.
  • Step Dancing (August 17-20th) – World champion Kevin Prendergast will entertain and enthral audiences with his magnificent displays of Irish dancing. Kevin will perform at intervals daily.
  • Sean Nós Singing (August 17th-20th) – Inis Oírr singer, producer, bodhrán player, storyteller and Irish Language advocate MacDara Ó Conaola will perform at intervals daily.
  • Traditional Music and Period Costume (August 12th-20th) – Staff, including gardeners, porters, maintenance crew and more will dress in period attire of the early 1900s and musicians will provide live music on the Village Street and other locations.
  • Traditional Thatching Demonstration (August 12th, 15th & 19th) – Bunratty’s resident thatcher will perform and discuss the traditional craft of thatching.
  • Tours of Bunratty House (August 12-20th) – Meet the caretaker of Bunratty House to hear the history of the family who occupied the Georgian-era house, explore the living quarters, bedrooms, nursery, dining room and more.
  • Animal Husbandry (August 12-20th) – Join resident Farm Manager Niall Moloney on his daily rounds while he tends to the animals and hear a fascinating account of the breeds of animals that are looked after at Bunratty Folk Park. Occurs at 12 midday and 2.00pm daily.
  • Regency Plant Collection (August 14-16th at 11.15am and 2.15pm) – The gardening team in the Regency Walled Garden discuss the processes and care involved in the planting and maintenance of the many heritage and regency plants currently growing in this idyllic setting.
  • Music in Irish Society (12th, 13th and 16th) – Bunratty’s resident musicians tell stories about the place and role of music in Irish society.
  • The life of the Royal Irish Constabulary Policeman (August 12th, 13th, 17th-19th) – Declan, our resident Royal Irish Constabulary Policeman, reveals riveting tales of a turbulent period in Irish history.
  • A Doctor’s Life (August 12th, 13th, 17th, 18th & 19th) – Bunratty’s resident doctor will tell visitors all about his profession at the turn of the 20th century.
  • A Blacksmith’s Life (August 12-20th) – Hear the hammer and anvil at work as Bunratty’s resident blacksmith goes about his daily chores making vital ironworks for people of the local community.

Craggaunowen highlights:

  • The Age of the Vikings (August 19-20th) – Combat Displays (midday & 3.30pm daily) and animators demonstrating what life was like during the Viking Age, including showcases of leather-working, and jewellery and wicker basket making.
  • Origins of Wool Dyeing (August 12-14th, 18th at 11.00am) – Annika showcases and discusses the origins and the art of the ancient practice of wool dying.
  • Tales of Irish Mythology (August 12-14th, 18th at 10.30am) – Stefan delves into Irish Mythology and enthrals with tales of Ireland that have been preserved in the oral tradition and later transcribed in the manuscripts of early Celtic Christianity.
  • Ogham Trail (August 12-14th & 18th at 3pm) – Stefan brings visitors on a trail exploring the ancient Irish writing tradition of Ogham, an Early Iron age Alphabet used primarily to write the early Irish language and later used in the old Irish language.
  • Traditional Butter Making (August 15th-16th at 2pm) – Ciara creates real Irish butter using the traditional practice of butter churning.
  • Food Display and Bread Baking (August 12-14th & 18th at 2.30pm) – Craggaunowen animators make bread and oat cakes at the ringfort by grinding oats in the tradition way with a smooth rock and a patient hand before baking bread over an open campfire.
  • Cottage Candles (August 12th-14th August from 10am to 5pm) – Witness Carmel use vintage china to create handcrafted soy wax candles in a unique mix of scents, designs and colours.
  • The Art of Spinning and Weaving (August 15th-17th from 10am to 2pm) – Animator Geraldine discusses and performs the ancient Irish craft of wool spinning on a traditional spindle.
  • Pole Lathe Demonstration (August 15th-17th from 10am to 5pm) – Witness the ancient skill of timber craftwork on the traditional pole lathe.

Visit and for booking details and for new events added to the Heritage Week programme at Craggaunowen and Bunratty.

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