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Museum of Country Life Last Updated: 2, Apr 2018 - 10:02

Look, laugh and learn at Féile na Tuaithe – Turlough Park
By Bernie Byron
23, May 2008 - 09:53

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Look, laugh and learn at Féile na Tuaithe – Turlough Park

Saturday 24 & Sunday 25 May: 12.00-5.00pm daily. Admission Free.

This is it! The waiting is over and the festival is about to begin. Féile na Tuaithe – Turlough Park is on this Saturday and Sunday (24/25 May). It’s bigger, it’s better and it’s all absolutely free. Everything kicks off at 12 noon on Saturday and runs until 5pm. Your only challenge is - how on earth are you going to fit everything in?

Apart from all the Museum exhibits, Féile na Tuaithe has a host of attractions for visitors to enjoy. Stand back and be amazed by the spaniels from the West of Ireland Spaniel Club working in perfect harmony with their handlers. Take advantage of their years of knowledge and experience to get advice on handling your own working dog. Look up and see the Eagles Flying, those amazing birds of prey. Look at the rare breed cattle - Moils and Dexters, the Shetland ponies and other animals. Look at the crafts demonstrators: Eileen Healy the breadmaker (don’t forget to beg a sample), Ray Munnelly the blacksmith, Ambrose O’Halloran the woodturner and many more besides. Look at the fun everyone is having at Féile.

Take a special look
.. at the master saddler Rob Steinke, who has the only museum in the world dedicated to the ancient craft of the Saddler and Harness Maker. This highly skilled craft has declined over the last century but the beauty and intricacy of the leatherwork is wonderful to behold. Rob will share the secrets and techniques of his craft and exhibit a range of superb saddlery, both contemporary and traditional. This is a rare opportunity to meet a master saddler and see his expert craftwork.


It’s good for us all to laugh and apparently we don’t do enough of it these days! Féile na Tuaithe – Turlough Park will give everyone an opportunity to enjoy a really good laugh. For starters watching the kids with painted faces as they romp through the extensive Museum grounds, enjoying the festival. You’ll have to smile as you watch them follow Mary Curran the ‘Pied Piper’ as she assembles and instructs an impromptu orchestra. They just love it, and you’ll love watching them.

The Fanzini Brothers are all about laughs; for both kids and adults. Storyteller Gearóidín Ní Bhreathnach is from the Donegal Gaeltacht and her stories are guaranteed to make you laugh, cry and gasp, as she regales her audience with tall tales. Peeping over the shoulder of caricaturist Aidan Cooney always raises a giggle, especially if it’s you who is the target of his wicked pencil. Don’t say you weren’t warned!

Take a special look
… at the traditional games. Many of today’s children have never had the opportunity to play the traditional games familiar to parents and grandparents from their own childhoods. Remember Queenie-i-oh and hopscotch. The Museum’s Education and Outreach Department never cease to be amazed at how easily the Playstation is abandoned as kids discover the fun of old fashioned games.

We learn most when we’re having fun, and there’s no shortage of that at Féile. Children and adults alike are fascinated as they look at the working beehive and hear Matt Moran the beekeeper explain how it operates. No textbook can compete with the information kids will retain from the Nature Walk with Education and Outreach Department in the glorious grounds of the Museum itself. Aspiring flyfishers have an opportunity to learn this skill from expert fisherman Graham Williams (not in the river though, this fishing is for daisies on the lawn!).

The smallest traditional boat in Ireland is the Boyne corracle and Claidbh O’Gibne will not only show you what one looks like, he’ll tell you how he makes them too.

Take a special look
… at the National Drawing Day activities on Saturday 24 May in the Education Room. Artist Deirdre Keetley from the National Gallery is running workshops for both adults and families (children over 7s, accompanied by an adult). This is a new venture for Féile and a very popular one. Numbers are limited, so do book in advance (2pm for adults and 3pm for families, Tel: 094 903 1751). Drawing Day is organised by the National Gallery of Ireland in partnership with a number of cultural institutions throughout the country. If you’ve ever fancied taking up a sketchpad, now’s your chance to check out your inner artist.

Access to the Museum

Shuttle bus service
New this year is a shuttle bus which will operate to and from Castlebar (Steven Garvey Way bus stop – opposite old Aldi Roundabout) and Ballyvary. Bus departs these locations every 30 minutes from 11.30am – 4.00pm.

Extended parking is also available near the Museum. 

Traffic Management 
A traffic management plan will be in operation in Turlough village on both days. An Gárda Síochana will also be in attendance over the course of the event.

For further information on Féile na Tuaithe – Turlough Park contact Tel: 094 903 1755.

Féile na Tuaithe – Turlough Park is kindly supported by:

  • Fáilte Ireland West
  • The Connaught Telegraph
  • Cashin Print Services
  • Mid West Radio
  • Wendy Williams Design

Check out the Full Programme for 24 - 25 May 2008 at Féile na Tuaithe

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