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Culture vultures enjoy a host of heritage events

there is no excuse for lacking culture this week with a record 1,800 events organised to mark National Heritage Week, and with over 400,000 people expected to take part.

Archaeofest marked the official opening of the week's events.

Organised in conjunction with the Institute of Archaeologists of Ireland, it featured a Viking combat display, flint knapping, a giant excavation pit for kids to explore, as well as traditional skills, demonstrations and face painting.


Ian Doyle, head of conservation with the Heritage Council, said that this week is one of the biggest cultural events on the Irish

He said that the diversity of events taking place during the weeks is what makes it unique.

"We hope that towns and villages across Ireland will experience a positive knock-on impact as people attend events," Mr Doyle said.

The majority of events throughout the week, which ends on Sunday, are free to attend.

This year, a wide range of activities have been planned around the country. Co-ordinated by the Heritage Council, events will range from road planning to experiencing life as it was in the trenches during World War I.

Among the events taking place in Dublin over the coming days are gallery and family tours of the National Gallery of Ireland.

There will also be drop-in family drawing sessions at the gallery.

Meanwhile, for those who fancy experiencing Viking and medieval Dublin, look no further than Dublinia during the week ahead.

Walking tours of medieval Dublin are also available, as part of the hundreds of events which are taking place around the city and county.

"Graveyards - A Hidden History" at St Colmcille's Church in Swords is one of the events planned for the Fingal region.

And there will be guided tours of the Skerries Mills during the week.

In the Dun Laoghaire Rathdown area, there will be guided tours of Kill Abbey among the events that are planned.

And in South County Dublin, a botanical scavenger hunt for kids is on the list of scheduled events to choose from.

For dates and times of all the various events, including music and poetry recitals, log on to: www.heritageweek.ie.