Cruinniú na nÓg Heritage Habitats

The Historic Houses of Ireland and their estates, gardens, demesnes and parks have long held a central position in the economic and social life of the communities in which they were built.

Now, as part of Cruinniú na nÓg, young people are being introduced to these old spaces, through Historic Houses of Ireland’s Heritage Habitats programme of child-driven, creative outdoor activities that explore the biodiversity of the gardens, parks, and wild areas surrounding four historic host houses.

The programme varies from venue to venue depending on the unique features of each. Activities will include elements of exploring, painting, foraging, cooking, den building, group music, acrobatics, writing, and performing.  Where possible, participants will be encouraged to follow their own instincts.

Additional Information:

Birr Castle Demesne, Co. Offaly

Set in the heritage town of Birr, on 120 acres of parklands and gardens, Birr Castle Demesne boasts a rare collection of over 5,000 species of trees and plants, wonderful wildlife, and peaceful walks along rivers, waterfalls, and lakeside.

On 11th June, the doors will be opened to several workshops linking the astronomical heritage and rich wildlife and plant heritage found within the demesne of Birr Castle.  Each of the workshops will feature an informative session followed by a creative activity, and afterwards the participating children, along with their parents, can spend time exploring the parklands on one of the many trails.

Find out more: Heritage Habitats at Birr Castle Demesne, Co. Offaly


Enniscoe House, Ballina, Co. Mayo

Enniscoe House will deliver a series of workshops, training, performance and exhibitions in the grounds of the Enniscoe Estate, The North Mayo Heritage Centre as well as in Enniscoe House itself. Shona Seck and Fineinn Quinn’s music workshops will introduce children to different instruments, which they will use to perform a piece at a very special concert on June 11.

Enniscoe’s woods provides the fairytale backdrop to a storytelling workshop with some of the stories being retold on June 11.

The Fisherman’s Hut on the shores of Lake Conn is the ideal venue for Lisa Cawley’s art workshops – the work produced will be later be shown in an exhibition in the North Mayo Heritage Centre.

The former bush camp deep in the Enniscoe Woods makes an atmospheric venue for the Mayo Art Squad’s 3D construction project. This fun workshop will help children get the best from their camera phones as they explore Enniscoe’s inspiring 180 acres. Once again, the photos will be exhibited at the North Mayo Heritage Centre.

Andres Koening’s traditional willow weaving workshop, on the other hand, will use organic willow grown on the Enniscoe Estate.

Lastly, Enniscoe’s head gardener Aine Bell will host a workshop on growing your own produce over a 6-week period.


Kilmokea Country Manor & Gardens, Co. Wexford

Foraging and forest school, den building and open fire cooking!

On 11th June, Emma Hewlett invites you for flower foraging in the extensive gardens at Kilmokea Country Manor & Gardens and to experience a forest school with wildtime leader Johanna Brown.

Experience the magic of foraging for elderflowers and dandelions in the open countryside and transforming them into yummy and refreshing cordial and dandelion gummy bears. Then take a break from foraging to explore the maze in the kitchen garden before heading into the woodland.

Johanna will also introduce you to den building, using nature’s abundant resources around the woods.  Find joy, wonder and excitement by cooking your own food over an open fire. Relish the effects of connecting with nature, enjoy team work, use nature’s abundant resources for art and crafts, and immerse yourself in natural surroundings.

Find out more: Heritage Habitats at Kilmokea Country Manor & Gardens, Co. Wexford


Killruddery House, Bray, Co. Wicklow

Killruddery House is delighted to offer ‘I See You’, a programme of art, culture and heritage. 

Children can take part in a visual celebration of young people in old spaces, and develop new skills through workshops of technical and creative play, with Aduantas Aerial, Me & The Moon, and three individual circus performers and tutors – Ben Carpenter, Bróna Howard, and Stephen McGinley.

In workshops with Killruddery Artist in Residence, Aduantas Aerial, participants will learn skills in rope, silks, trapeze, dance trapeze and hammock. Independent circus performers and tutors Ben, Bróna, and Stephen will also introduce such circus skills as juggling, hula hoops, object manipulation and more.  Each of the workshops will begin and end with a short show from the circus tutors.

Join Me & The Moon in creating technical and creative drawings, capturing play all around Killruddery’s 17th-century gardens. These finished pieces will then be collaged together to form a giant wall of drawing that will be exhibited in The Orangery of Killruddery House.

Find out more: Heritage Habitats at Killruddery House, Bray, Co. Wicklow

Event Summary & Location

11 June 2022

More Info

Organiser & Contact

HHI and Creative Ireland