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Féile na Tuaithe

The Biggest Free Family Festival in the West of Ireland

Here comes the Summer and families countrywide are looking for day trips and places to go. Féile na Tuaithe - Turlough Park at the National Museum of Ireland-Country Life in Castlebar, Co. Mayo has got to be the best fun and best value festival around. Free entry, games, children’s activities, storytelling, music, face painting, demonstrations and workshops. It’s a two day celebration of country life and traditions taking place on Saturday 24 and Sunday 25 May 2008.

Féile na Tuaithe - Turlough Park also incorporates a tented craft and food market with an extensive range of carefully selected stands from cheese to chocolate makers and from bodhráns to beeswax. Standholders are all craftworkers or artisan food producers with quality and sometimes unique produce for sale. Tempting tastings will be on offer to visitors enticing them to purchase. A live food demonstration involves Eileen Healy and Mary Walsh from Ballycastle practicing traditional breadmaking in a pot oven over an open turf fire.

Everything takes place in the glorious gardens of Turlough Park House with the wonderful contrast of Victorian high gothic style original house and the ultra-modern museum building. Traditional children’s games with the Museum’s Education and Outreach Department draw children like magnets to the lawns, Queenie-i-oh, hopscotch and tag win out over the Playstation for one weekend at least. The fabulous Fanzini Brothers are a highlight - helterskelter fun and action with fire eating, mini-cycles and juggling. Families will love listening to stories and tall tales from well known seanchaí, and both adults and children always clamour to try fly casting with Graham Williams.

One enchanting attraction is an adventure in music with the ‘Pied Piper’, Mary Curran, calling children to her as she walks playing music around the grounds. Each delighted child becomes part of an impromptu open air orchestra performing to an entranced crowd. One of the most popular features last year, were the magnificent birds of prey from Eagles Flying. They make a welcome return this year and visitors will be able to get up close and personal with an eagle or an owl!

In keeping with the Museum’s own focus, there is a full programme of demonstrations suitable for the whole family. These include working dog demonstrations with the West of Ireland Spaniel Club, Sports activities for the older age (in association with the Mayo Sports Partnership), the art of the blacksmith by Ray Munnelly, basketmaking, corracle making, wood turning with Ambrose O’Halloran, beekeeping by Matt Moran and making harvest knots with the Museum’s Education and Outreach Department.

This is the fourth year of Féile na Tuaithe - Turlough Park which is now firmly established as a leading family festival. It attracts over 12,000 visitors over the weekend. The festival runs from 12noon -5.00pm each day. Féile na Tuaithe - Turlough Park is a natural extension of the Museum’s purpose of bringing families together to enjoy quality time and learn about the traditions of bygone days. It is also an opportunity to attract people who are coming through the gates for the first time.

The award-winning National Museum of Ireland, Country Life at Turlough Park near Castlebar, Co. Mayo is the only branch of the National Museum outside Dublin. It opened in September 2001 and is home to the National Folklife collection which represents traditional life in Ireland throughout the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. Fascinating artefacts deal with domestic life, agriculture, fishing and hunting, clothing and textiles, furniture and fittings, trades and crafts, transport, sports and leisure and religion. The Museum exhibitions will be open during Féile na Tuaithe and admission to the Museum is also free.

The Museum runs programmes for adults, families and schools to raise awareness of the Museum collection and the associated traditional crafts, customs and traditions. The programmes consist of talks, demonstrations and performances as well as hands-on art and craft workshops.

Located eight km east of Castlebar (on the N5), the Museum’s facilities include free parking, shop and café, audio-visual room and activity and resource rooms. All Museum buildings are wheelchair accessible.

Date: 31 January 2008

Contact: Bernie Byron, Marketing Executive, National Museum of Ireland - Country Life, Turlough Park, Castlebar, Co. Mayo

Tel: 094 90 31773,

Fax: 094 90 31583


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