No plans for Heritage Week? Here are 16 free things to do across the country

History walks, whale watching and jazz concerts among over 1,800 events

marino casino

Tour guide Chiara Curti at the Marino Casino in Dublin in 2013. Its secret tunnel is open to the public until next weekend as part of Heritage Week | Photo:

Looking for something different to do over the coming days?

National Heritage Week, which begins tomorrow, will feature over 1,800 events nationwide.

Organisers are expecting over 400,000 visitors at historical sites and tours in all 32 counties.

Here’s a quick round-up of the free highlights.


Scattery Island lecture

Dr John Treacy of the San Marcos Project will give a talk about the visit of seven Spanish Armada ships to the island in 1588, starting at 2pm on August 21st. Booking is required.


Cobh bell recital

St Colman’s Cathedral in Cobh plays host to a recital of classical and popular music on its 49-bell grand carillon at 4.30pm on August 28th.

Cork Heritage Open Day

Over 40 historic and heritage buildings in the county open their doors to the public for free for one day only, August 20th.

Cork City Medieval Day

Take in displays of medieval weaponry, pottery and household items at this event, also on August 20th, or try your hand at medieval games.


Jazz at St Patrick’s Cathedral

Escape the rush hour with nightly jazz concerts in the city centre cathedral.

Whale watching in Dalkey

Join the Irish Whale and Dolphin Group for a guided watch from the Vico Road on August 27th. Booking is required.

Merrion Square Open Day

Guided tours, events and talks take place in some of Dublin’s grandest Georgian houses on August 27th.

Research your family tree

The Irish Family History Centre is holding half-hour genealogy talks at the CHQ Building every lunchtime next week.

Rediscover O’Connell Street

An outdoor walking tour, starting at the Clerys clock at 2pm on August 28th, will showcase the street’s social and architectural history.

Explore Dublin’s transport history

A public seminar at the Wood Quay venue on August 25th features papers on 20th century streetscapes, the role of trams during the Rising and a 19th century cholera burial ground rediscovered during the Luas Cross City project.


Heritage bike trail

The leisurely cycling tour on August 21st will take in seven castles across the county, passing lakes, bogs, woods and meadows.

Drama at Coole Park

George Bernard Shaw’s anti-war play O'Flaherty VC will be performed at Lady Gregory’s old estate at 3pm on August 27th.

Tour the Hall of the Red Earl

Free tours of the 13th century archaeological site, one of the oldest in the county, take place every day this coming week.


Traditional music recital

Desmond Hall is holding a performance of traditional Irish tunes, played on the concertina and uilleann pipes, at 4pm on August 21st.


Slievemore deserted village walk

Explore the remains of old stone cottages on this walk through one of Achill Island’s historic sites on August 20th, starting at 10.30am.


Battle of the Boyne walk

Relieve the 17th centre battle at sites where the fighting took place. Suitable footwear is advised for this 2pm tour on August 21st.


All OPW venues, except Dublin Castle and Kilmainham Goal, will have free admission on August 28th. For a full overview of all National Heritage Week events, visit