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From the world of wasps to megalithic rock art - see what's on at the Museum for National Heritage Week 2021

Young visitors enjoying a picnic at the NMI - Country Life in Co Mayo

'Open the door to heritage' is the theme for this year's National Heritage Week and the NMI is delighted to present an exciting programme of events with something for all ages - from the weird world of wasps to megalithic rock art.

National Heritage Week is an annual initiative by the Heritage Council that brings together communities, families, organisations, cultural institutions, academics and enthusiasts, to build awareness about the value of heritage and support its conservation. It takes place this year from Saturday, 14 August to Sunday, 22 August.

Take a look at what is happening at the National Museum of Ireland this Heritage Week and be sure to plan your visit to one of our three Museum sites in Dublin and Mayo.

Nature Tour of Turlough Park

Event type: Guided tour (outdoors)
Suitable for: All ages
Time/Date: Various dates and times, 14 to 22 August

From river and lake to meadow and woodlands, discover the wide variety of nature habitats across the spectacular gardens of Turlough Park. This 40-acre leafy green estate just outside Castlebar is home to the National Museum of Ireland - Country Life as well as all kinds of wildlife, trees and plant species. These free guided tours take place on selected dates and times throughout National Heritage Week. 


Traditional Súgan Woodworking Demonstration

Event type: Craft demonstration (outdoors)
Suitable for: All ages
Time/Date: 2.30pm, 15 August

Join master craftsman Feargus De Brún to learn about sugán making techniques, a traditional form of Irish woodworking, and the histories that surround these practices. This event is organised by Bí Urban and hosted by the National Museum of Ireland - Decorative Arts & History at Collins Barracks, Dublin 7. Feargus is a traditional woodworker and artist, who builds beautiful handcrafted pieces in traditional and contemporary styles, using the same tools and processes that have been used for thousands of years on this island. This demonstration takes place outside the Learning Resource Room on a drop-in basis - no need to book.


Megalithic Rock Art

Event type: Online workshop
Suitable for: Families
Time/Date: 3pm, Wednesday, 18  August

Tune into our special online workshop about Megalithic Rock Art from the NMI - Archaeology. Join Musuem educators for a short tour of the Museum’s ‘Prehistoric Ireland’ exhibition and learn more about Stone Age Ireland. Be sure to download and print our newly created ‘Megalithic Rock Art’ activity sheet in advance to see the shapes and patterns used by people in the Stone Age to decorate large stones called megaliths.


Tales from the Decant: The Weird World of Ireland's Stinging Wasps

Event type: Online lecture
Suitable for: Adults
Time/Date: 1.15pm, Thursday, 19 August

Join curator Aidan O’Hanlon from the NMI - Natural History for this whistle-stop introduction to the bizarre and diverse world of Ireland’s stinging wasps. The familiar stinging wasp is an angry yellow and black insect that becomes a nuisance at picnics, or forms large nests near our homes. In reality, there are over 100 stinging wasp species in Ireland and each have diverse and fascinating survival strategies. Most are stealthy killing machines, some are the sneakiest thieves imaginable and others are important pollinators and agents of natural pest control.


Make Your Own Fairy Door

Event type: Online workshop
Suitable for: Families
Time/Date: 2pm, Thursday, 19 August

Join artists Tom Meskell and Carmel Balfe of Wandering Lighthouse Arts to learn how to make and decorate your very own fairy door. Made from upcycled and natural materials, these easy-to-make decorations make a lovely addition to any garden and who knows ... if you find the right spot to hang the door, the fairies might just come and make their home there!


In Conversation with the Curator and Makers of InForm

Event type: Online talk
Suitable for: Adults
Time/Date: 2pm, Friday, 20 August

The NMI - Decorative Arts & History is hosting a live Zoom event on Friday, 20 August, in partnership with the Design & Crafts Council Ireland. Curator of InForm, Dr. Edith Andrees, will be joined by some of the emerging makers featured in the exhibition. They will be discussing their creative practice and their involvement in the two-year collaborative project. InForm is the newest exhibition at the National Museum of Ireland - Decorative Arts & History, Collins Barracks, Dublin 7. It showcases contemporary Irish ceramics and jewellery by 22 emerging makers, next to the Museum objects that inspired them.


Climate Change Lecture Series 
The CHERISH project: Understanding climate change impacts on our coastal cultural heritage

Event type: Online lecture
Suitable for: Adults
Time/Date: 1pm, Friday, 20 August

The CHERISH project employs various methodologies to survey and record cultural heritage in the coastal and marine zone in order to map cultural heritage sites, measure the rates of climate induced change, and further archaeological research. This talk, with Sandra Henry, lead Research Archaeologist for the CHERISH project, focuses in particular on promontory forts, looking in particular at counties Dublin, Wexford, Waterford and Kerry. It will explore the various methods that are used to record, survey and further understanding of this common Irish archaeological site.


Heritage Week Project
Daoine agus Áit: Connecting our Communities

This summer, members of the Irish Community Archive Network (iCAN) collaborated on Daoine agus Áit: Connecting our Communities - a Heritage Week project. Nineteen community groups across counties Clare, Galway, Mayo and Wicklow developed a series of unique postcards in celebration of their local heritage. The postcards will be available in the participating communities during National Heritage Week 2021. 

About iCAN

iCAN is a National Museum of Ireland initiative founded in 2008. Its main aim is to encourage and support communities to collect and share their local history and heritage online. Working in partnership with local authorities, iCAN has supported the creation and development of 28 online archives to date in Clare, Galway, Mayo and Wicklow.


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