independent

Thursday 17 April 2014

Your essential guide to Easter

From egg hunts and dance classes, to plays and storytelling, there's something for everyone in our essential guide

Tir na nOg Children's Festival takes place in Tralee

Whether you're looking for family fun, yummy Easter edibles, exercises to work off the chocolate guilt or a cultural feast – here's EGGSactly what you need to know about the great events around the country this Easter.

Fitness fans

Ditch the chocolate guilt by working up a sweat at one of these energising events:

• Get the blood pumping and raise money for heart and stroke charity, Croí, at the Croagh Patrick Heritage Trail Walking Festival running from March 22 to 24 with a host of hard hikes, gentle looping trails and guided ambles lined up, priced from €15. See croaghpatrick heritagetrail.com for details.

• Ramble through the Rainbow Ballroom of Romance, Glenfarne Forest, and along the sculpture trail as part of the Holey Soles 19th hillwalking festival on March 30 and 31 in North Leitrim Glens. Walk registration starts at €10 and includes refreshments.

• Pull on your boots for the Kilkenny Walking Festival (kilkennywalkingfestival.ie), which kicks off a programme of events including bluebell rambles and canal strolls from March 30.

• Be the Lord of the Dance at the Easter Céilí at Áras an Mhuilinn (arasanmhuilinn.ie), Mullingar, on March 31, 9.30pm, €10 entry including refreshments.

Families

Keep the kids happy at one of these Eggcellent days out:

• Hop along to Dublin's Chocolate Warehouse (chocolatewarehouse.ie), where the Easter bunny is hiding at the end of the chocolate factory tour ready to hand out personalised eggs until March 30. Children €9.50, price includes egg.

• It's Jurasegg Park at Belfast's W5 from March 23 to April 7 where kids can collect a bouncing egg character and race it through volcanoes and dino-traps to make it to the finish line. Event runs 2pm to 4pm; adults, €9.63; children, €7.50; family tickets available. W5 takes euro. See w5online.co.uk for details.

• From spooky tales to creepy curses, learn all about the pharaohs at the National Museum of Ireland on Kildare Street, Dublin, on March 24 from 3pm to 4pm, suitable for ages six to 12.

• Over-sevens can learn interesting Easter traditions and decorate their own egg at a free workshop at the National Museum of Ireland, Turlough Park, Co Mayo, on March 24, 2.30pm.

• Justcooking.ie in Co Kerry is hosting two Easter cookery camps for two age groups on March 25 to 28. Kids can whip up delicious cupcakes, eggs and healthy treats for €35, booking necessary.

• Follow the clues and find the tokens during a tour of the players lounge, dressing rooms and grounds at the Cadbury Ireland Easter Egg Trail at Croke Park Stadium, March 25 to April 1. Adults €12, children €8, with Cadbury eggs for all! See crokepark.ie for details.

• Take a trip back in time and join the Big Easter Egg Hunt at the Irish Heritage Park, Co Wexford, on March 29 and 30, where kids can play archaeologist for the day and uncover hidden chocolate treasure among the ancient homes. See inhp.com.

• There's an egg-stravanza of family fun at Timbertrove in the Dublin Mountains with treasure hunts, face painting, colouring competitions, bunnies and eggs on March 29 and 30. Kids cost €5 and adults go free, prebooking essential. See familyfun.ie for details.

• Sit back and enjoy storytelling every hour from 11am to 4pm or decorate your own Easter egg, take in a puppet show and check out a fab treasure hunt at Wells House, Co Wexford (wellshouse.ie), March 29-30, children €5, adults free.

• Belvedere House in Mullingar, Co Westmeath, has not one but three egg hunts suitable for all ages and the Easter bunny on hand to give out prizes (see discoverireland.ie for details) on March 31 and April 1.

• Farmleigh has nature walks, storytelling, puppet shows, falconry displays, facepainting, family quizzes and much more going on March 31 and April 1. See farmleigh.ie for details.

• Test your general knowledge and follow clues to win chocolate treats at the Big Barracks Egg Hunt, Collins Barracks, Dublin, on March 31, 3pm. Event is free with no registration necessary.

• The Ulster American Folk park in Omagh, Co Tyrone, has a host of ye olde Easter fun including butter churning, basket weaving, feeding chicks, egg-and-spoon races, egg rolling and a toe-tapping spring hoe-down for visitors. March 31 to April 2, family tickets (two adults and up to three children) €23. See nmni.com for other prices.

• Hop on board the Easter Eggspress steam train adventure from Belfast Central station to Whithead on April 1 and 2 with free Easter eggs for every ticket-holding child. Trains depart noon and 2.20pm, all tickets £11. See gotobelfast.com for details.

Animal lovers

Spring has well and truly arrived with this braying, clucking and fishing fun:

• Saddle up for the 2013 Connemara Pony Spring Festival running March 21 to 24, featuring Ireland's largest stallion parade (goconnemara.com)

• Join more than 150 international anglers at Monaghan's first Easter Angling Festival at Lough Muckno held as part of The Gathering (thegatheringireland.com) from March 29 to April 1.

• Watch a chicken run (and compete against anything else that lays an egg) at the National Poulty Races in Carlingford, Co Louth (discover ireland.ie), on April 1.

Foodies

Ditch the diet for these lip-smacking events:

• Learn to make and bake delicious, sweet Easter treats inspired by traditional Italian pastries in a hands-on two-and-a-half hour cookery class at Dublin's Italian School of Cooking (flavourof italy.net) on March 23, 6pm, currently on special offer at €25 (usually €65).

• Sample a soupçon of delicious local produce at A taste of Connemara one-day festival at The Showgrounds, Clifden, March 24.

• Graze on goodies at the Galway Food Festival where more than 100 events take place include foraging trips, food talks, tastings, wine and beer workshops and family events. March 28 to April 1, see galwayfoodfestival.com.

• Check out Farmleigh food markets, selling homegrown culinary treats such as award-winning cheeses, chutneys and organic vegetables, on March 31 and April 1 from 10am to 5.15pm

Culture vultures

Have an enriching Easter at one of these events:

• Learn the backstory to Da Vinci's Last Supper at a free screening of a documentary detailing the masterpiece's conception at Dublin's National Gallery (national gallery.ie) on March 23, 2.30pm.

• The haunting 'Miserere Mei' by Georgio Allegri has been sung in the Sistene Chapel every year during Holy Week since its composition in the 1600s. The Gaudete Singers will be performing it along with other Music for Lent in St Bartholomew's Church (stbartholomews.ie) on March 23 at 8pm. Admission €15 and includes a glass of wine.

• Commemorate the 97th anniversary of the 1916 Easter Rising with a guided tour of Beggars Bush Barracks and the surrounding area set in the context of the area's fascinating involvement in the week-long rebellion. March 24, from 2.30pm to 4pm, €5, booking essential. See nationalprintmuseum.ie

• Ever wondered what became of Barabbas? Or how Pilate's wife felt when he washed his hands of Jesus? Set against the backdrop of the first Good Friday, Sean Walsh's play, At the Praetorium (available on Amazon) takes an unusual look at the events of that day.

Directed by Breffni McGuinness, the drama will be performed by the Clontarf Drama Group on March 25, 8pm at St Anthony's church, Clontarf, March 26, 8pm at St Brigid's church, Killester and March 27, 8pm at All Hallows college, Drumcondra. Admission free. Paperback copies available on the night.

• The atmospheric surroundings of Clonard Monastery's Church of the Most Holy Redeemer, Belfast, plays host to the Ulster Orchestra for a breathtaking concert of emotive string music on March 26. Admission £12. See discovernothernireland.com for details.

Irish Independent

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